Legal battle over solar feed-in tariff ends in defeat for DECC
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 March 2012 at 11:31 am
Solar installations made between 12 December 2011 and 3 March 2012 will get the higher rate of feed-in tariff (43.3p for up to 4kW systems) as the Supreme Court rejected DECC's appeal on Friday.
The industry has been dogged with uncertainty since the legal battle began in December last year. Friends of the Earth, Solarcentury and HomeSun took the government to court over its decision to cut the tariff rates to 21p before the consultation period was over. The High Court ruled that this was unlawful.
The government appealed, and lost, and then took its case to the Supreme Court. The court's decision not to allow the government leave to appeal puts an end to the ongoing saga, and will hopefully end the uncertainty that has been so damaging to everyone involved in the industry.
"We are disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court not to grant permission to hear this case," said Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey. "But the Court's decision draws a line under the case. We will now focus all our efforts on ensuring the future stability and cost effectiveness of solar and other microgeneration technologies for the many, not the few."
The official statement from the Court said: “Permission to appeal was refused because the application does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by the Supreme Court at this time, bearing in mind that the case has already been the subject of judicial decision and reviewed on appeal and because paragraph 16 of the Court of Appeal's judgment disposes of the proposed argument based on the subject of the challenge being only a proposal,” read the ruling.
The current FIT rate for small solar systems of 21p per kWh generated, plus 3.1p per kWh exported still gives a rate of return considerably higher than the government's target of 4.5%. This rate is only available until 30 June 2012, when it will be reduced. All installations after 1 April will have to meet the new energy efficiency criteria of EPC level D to claim this rate.Photo by s_falkow By Cathy Debenham
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