Victory for solar power as UK government loses Supreme Court decision

Good news for the solar industry in the UK as a Supreme Court ruling prevents the government from imposing severe cuts on subsidies for solar projects.

Ed Davey The government's attempts to reduce the subsidies for projects completed between Dec 12, 2011, and before March 4 by more than 50 per cent were already branded 'unlawful' by a High Court judge, a decision later backed by a Court of Appeals.

Industrial Info reports that the Supreme court ruling now prevents the government from slashing the original feed-in-tariff (FiT) from £0.43.3p per kilowatt hour (kWh) to just £0.21p. However, a second round of cuts are expected to be imposed on the sector this summer.

"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 micro-generation technologies for the many, not the few."

The decision has been hailed by the solar power sector as an important victory.

Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association, Paul Barwell, commented: "This marks the end of this particular turbulent chapter for the U.K. solar sector. We welcome the certainty for those who invested and installed since 12th December. However, the extra money DECC will now have to commit leaves us with serious concerns about the remaining FiT budget, which remains constrained under the Levy."

Looking ahead, he added: "It is vital that the solar industry receives sufficient support, or we risk losing good quality firms over the next year. That will be against a backdrop of new and substantial public subsidies to the oil and gas sector."

The UK solar sector may have won this battle but it is facing a cloudy future. Last March, the government was accused of 'strangling the solar industry at birth' by industry groups, when it slashed the feed-in-tariff (FiT) for large-scale solar projects by 70%.

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