The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has expressed concerns about the implications of the ongoing solar feed-in tariff legal battle. Whilst the REA has routinely condemned the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) handling of the feed-in tariff review, it is now urging all parties involved in the legal challenge to recognise that the priority must be to secure the future of the solar industry and the feed-in tariff. The REA maintains that for this to happen, the tariff has to come down and the spending envelope the feed-in tariff operates within must be increased.

Gaynor Hartnell, Chief Executive of the REA said: “DECC deserved to be reprimanded for its handling of the FiT Review.  The fall in PV costs has taken us all by surprise, but had DECC lowered tariffs sooner and in a controlled manner as we had suggested, there would have been less uncertainty and chaos. 

“The priority for REA is securing the industry over the next three years. The ongoing legal battle, and the risk of further exceeding an already committed budget, makes this far more challenging. We need to be thinking beyond April if we want to secure this industry’s future.”

The REA has sought to secure a meeting with Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, to obtain assurances that the current legal battle consuming the solar industry will not be allowed to jeopardise the long-term future of the feed-in tariff scheme.

Following the Government’s decision to appeal the High Court’s ruling, a judge will decide whether to allow an appeal on January 13. The full hearing, if permitted, will take place the same day. Whichever side loses at that hearing could take a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

Hartnell concluded: “The feed-in tariff also covers biogas, hydro and small-scale wind. It is irresponsible of DECC to allow money to haemorrhage out of the pot into just one technology, because its tariff levels are excessive.

“We support solar power because it is a technology that can be installed at the point of use and its costs are falling dramatically. A roll out of this technology is beneficial to the UK economy – but not if we pay through the nose for it. It is funded by electricity consumers – many of whom have little money to spare. On equity grounds it is essential that tariffs keep pace with falling costs. If this cannot be done then it should be funded by general taxation – there is a strong case for this given the huge Treasury revenues from the feed-in tariff scheme, as well as major employment benefits.”