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Government waits on FiT outcome

The government is facing an uneasy wait over the outcome of overturning solar industry legal bid for Feed-in Tariffs.

According to Clickgreen.org.uk, lawyers for the Department of Energy and Climate Change have argued for the opportunity of a full appeal hearing in an attempt to overturn last month’s High Court judgement that the proposed cuts to the Feed-in Tariff was unlawful.

According to industry analysis, the current stalemate is costing the UK renewable industry around £25,000-a-day in cancelled and deferred orders compounded by increasing sales costs, uncertain wage bills and the depreciation value of redundant stock.

A study of the latest installation figures for the first week of January reveal the devastating toll of draining consumer confusion and lack of confidence in the market.

The latest episode added to the uncertainty that has plagued the industry since the initial announcement back in October of a proposed cut for household solar PV installations from 43.3p to 21p – backdated from April 1 to the 12th of last month.

Writing for GreenWeek, David Hunt of leading renewable firm Eco Environments said the solar industry remains in “total limbo” following the latest developments, and added: “The government has not covered itself in glory during this whole sorry saga, and today’s outcome further exacerbates the negative impact of their actions.

“The industry needs to move forward without the prospect of months of continued uncertainty hanging over it.

“While the reduction in the feed-in-tariff to 21p/kWh for domestic customers is greater than we would have wanted, the industry now accepts that we have to work with the new rate which still offers a fantastic return on investment for homeowners.

“The major issue is the possible outcomes of the appeal which will now be heard.

“If the government wins its appeal, the industry is spared the return to a 43p domestic FIT rate which will blow an already overspent budget, causing a short boom and a catastrophic bust for the renewable energy industry, not just solar.”

A statement by DECC following yesterday’s court hearing, said: “”The Court of Appeal has not yet decided whether to give permission for an appeal or made a judgement on the FiTs case.

“The Court will wrap up the decision on permission for an appeal and a possible judgement if an appeal is allowed in the next few weeks.

“Once the outcome is known we will consider our options and make an announcement on the way forward to provide clarity to consumers and industry.”