UK Government loses Feed-in-Tariff appeal

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UK Government loses Feed-in-Tariff appeal

January 2012

renewable energy news

The Court of Appeal has rejected the Government’s appeal against a High Court decision that it unlawfully reduced Solar PV Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs).

The Government planned for the FIT for solar PV to be reduced by more than 50% for PV installed on or after 12th December. However a legal challenge from Friends of the Earth and two solar firms caused the decision to be overturned in the High Court. The Government challenged this in the Court of Appeal but this has now been rejected. 
 
This is welcome news to many farmers and landowners, who now have until 3rd March to install and register solar PV technology. After this date, the tariffs will be cut by over 50%, with further cuts or complete removal of solar PV FITs is possible after 1st April. However there is the risk that if the government win in the Supreme Court that the lower rates will be back dated to 12th December 2012.
 
Whilst this is good news in the short term for solar PV, the decision could harm other types of on farm renewable energy in the long term. A surge in solar PV installations similar to that at the end of 2011 is expected between now and 3rd March potentially decimating the Feed in Tariff. Last year, between 31st October and 12th December, when DECC announced the initial ‘unlawful’ tariff reductions, well over 300MW of solar PV was installed. If this reoccurs it is likely to use the remaining budget which could have supported more complicated schemes such as wind turbines, hydro and AD. 
 
Mark Newton, Head of Renewable Energy at Fisher German, comments “We hope that the Government will find additional resources for renewable projects going forward, otherwise it will be very difficult financially for farmers and landowners to develop renewable on farm energy. The renewables industry requires stability; informing people what FITs will be payable over 1 or 2 years and not the current monthly changes.
 
“In the mean time though, I would urge anybody looking to install solar PV to act now and install the technology as soon as possible to benefit from the higher rates which could be significantly reduced from 3rd March and 1st April. People must note that there is still the risk that the reduced rates could be back dated to 12th December.”
 
Following the decision to reject the Government’s appeal, it is likely they will launch an appeal to the Supreme Court within the next few weeks. DECC are also expected to announce a new consultation on the 9th February which will indicate the new FIT rates from 1st April for all technologies, including a further reduction in solar PV.
 
For further information, please contact Mark Newton on 01858 411246 or email mark.newton@fishergerman.co.uk 
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