UK solar companies take legal action against DECC FiT deadline

Fighting back against Government’s proposal to reduce solar feed-in tariff rates and implement a cut-off point of December 12, Solarcentury has confirmed it is taking legal action against the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Joining a group of UK solar companies Solarcentury will seek an interim injunction to stop DECC using the December 12 date as the deadline for the current, higher feed-in tariffs. The group is claiming that such an early date – which is weeks before the FiT consultation period ends – is illegal, irrational and unreasonable.

Strongly opposing the deadline, the group of companies is calling on Government to adjust the tariff levels only after DECC has completed a proper, legal review and followed the correct processes. The group regards the December cut-off date as a ‘cynical move made without due regard to the inevitable and negative commercial consequences for thousands of new businesses, their staff and customers.’

The October 31 announcement, which proposes feed-in tariff reductions for systems under 250kW for all systems installed after December 12, has caused a large amount of solar industry backlash.

The effect of the news has sent a ripple through industry, causing damage to solar companies even before the deadline has hit. Many large contracts have been cancelled following the announcement, including major projects for housing associations and local authorities which were planned to complete by the original FiT deadline in March 2012. These projects, which were aimed at reducing fuel poverty as well as cutting carbon emissions, have no hope of completing by the December deadline. As a result, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been lost.

Jeremy Leggett Chairman of Solarcentury said, “We expected a proper and fair consultation on the review of FITs. We expected to have the time to plan for the next stage of the development of the market. We were all expecting a new tariff from April 2012. Instead we get a ready-made decision which seriously harms the solar industry and everyone in it and gives us less than six weeks to save the businesses we have built up over multiple years.”

"It is profoundly depressing that the greenest Government ever has after just 18 months launched such an assault against a growing industry employing 25,000 people.  I would much rather be helping to create many more "Big Society" jobs than taking the Government to court but sadly they leave us no choice. The banks get eight years to change, we get less than eight weeks. We are urging other companies to get involved in the consultation process. If they were to get away with this the consequences will go way beyond the wider PV sector. What low carbon industry investor or company will be able to trust the Prime Minister, Mr Huhne and Mr Barker ever again?"