After the High Court ruling on 21 December 2011, a green light was given for a judicial
review brought by Friends of the Earth and two solar companies HomeSun and Solarcentury. The Department for Climate Change (DECC) already have a lodged appeal against the decision.
The decision was great news for the beleaguered solar industry which was outraged at the way in which the cuts were brought from 12 December 211 before the close of the consultation, which has now been ruled as “potentially illegal”.
At that time, the Judge said the consultation was “legally flawed” and can be subjected to a judicial review as the Government had breached rules on consultation exercises when it announced planned cuts to the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) before the end of the consultation period.
The small and short-lived victory for the PV industry is, now, overtaken by a “legally correct” outcome from the consultation.
The latest new is that DECC has, now, laid before Parliament draft licence modifications which, subject to the Parliamentary process set out in the Energy Act 2008, makes provision for a reduced tariff rate from 1 April 2012 onwards for new solar PV installations with an eligibility date on or after 3 March 2012 under the Feed – in Tariffs scheme (FITs).
The DECC Press Release can be found at http://bit.ly/A3L4xk
This mechanism gets around the previous arguments that the consultation was “legally flawed” has it was concluded on 23 December 2011. The outcome of the consultation is to be published by 9 February 2012, in time for any resulting legislative changes to come into effect from 1 April 2012.
The golden opportunity to drive forward on a low-carbon technology has been dashed once more. It is true that the costs of the scheme were growing as was the take-up of PV panels but the alternative is new power stations running on a combination of gas, nuclear or coal.
Government 1 – Sustainability 0