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Courts to decide on PV feed-in-tariff

16 December 2011


The High Court awarded campaign group Friends of the Earth the right to challenge the government over its slashing of the photovoltaic feed-in-tariff (FiT).

“We took action after the government proposed slashing financial support for small-scale solar energy production by more than 50 per cent,” a statement by Friends of the Earth said.

The government announced at the end of October that it would cut the tariff from 43p/kWh to 21p/kWh for electricity generated by photovoltaic (PV) panels and projects, starting this month.

The plans have already led to thousands of projects being cancelled and solar jobs lost or put at risk, Friends of the Earth said.

But today the judge ruled that the government has a case to answer after it proposed slashing solar support before the end of its own consultation on the issue. He agreed that this is potentially unlawful and granted a full hearing next week.

Friends of the Earth said more than 200 organisations signed a joint statement calling for the government to reconsider its plans.

The announcement comes as several solar panel installers with major contracts moved to reduce the size of their businesses in anticipation of reduced monies from solar panel projects.

In early November, social housing and construction business, Mears Group, said it was bailing out of photovoltaic installations because of the government’s decision. In its interim management statement for the period from 1 July to November, Mears said it accepts that its operating profit for the year will take a hit.

A major casualty of the government’s decision has been Carillion’s expanding Carillion Energy Services (CES) business. The Gateshead-based company, formed when Carillion Group bought Eaga for around £306 million in February, began a 90-day consultation period with its 4,500 CES staff, which could result in about 1,500 redundancies.

However, Willmott Dixon said this month that it was business as usual for its photovoltaic installation work and had just completed a £100,000 project in Birmingham. The company spent nearly £100,000 installing 150 square metres (more than 1,600 square feet) of PV to provide affordable energy at an extra-care scheme for Housing 21 at Saxon Court.

“It will cut energy costs at the 87-apartment facility by £1,000 per annum for residents and Housing 21 – important in a sector that’s a heavy user of energy,” says a statement from the privately-owned construction, regeneration and support services company.

Other news for Friday, 16 December 2011

Courts to decide on PV feed-in-tariff

FMs have vacant property headaches

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