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Solar debate continues to rage

Date: 12 Dec 2011

The legality of the government’s actions to reduce the solar FiT are being challenged by Penzance based installers, Plug into the Sun.

The Solar PV installations company believes that the government has acted illegally by implementing the cuts in the feed-in tariff 11 days before the consultation period is over.

Plug Into the Sun’s MD, Andrew Tanner, has donated £1000 to Solar Century who initiated legal proceedings on Nov 4th along with Friends of the Earth, and HomeSun.

Andrew Tanner said: “The government has rushed through the new FiT and has destabilised the industry – it seems ridiculous that a proposal can come into force before the consultation ends.”

The government gave the solar industry 6 weeks to implement the changes, but this has been regarded as too short a time to actually deal with the number of customers already in process.

As a result, millions of pounds worth of work has been lost, alongside increased job insecurity.

Andrew Tanner said: “We have lost loads of work due to the date being moved to the 12th. We had customers stuck in Western Power processes and planning applications which meant that it was impossible to get them installed in time.”

Although a high court ruling rejected the first appeal earlier this month, there will be a second hearing on 15th Dec.

General counsel for Solar Century, John Faulks, said that the second hearing was actually good progress as judicial reviews were an involved court process.

John Faulks, said: “The case starts for real on December 15th. Let’s focus on that permission hearing and not lose sight of the fact that we all need to make sure DECC hears plenty of response to the consultation itself."

DECC, the Department of Energy and Climate change believes that the changes are necessary due to the unforeseen rapid uptake in solar PV which increased dramatically with the introduction of the FiT and that action needed to be taken in order to limit the costs on the general public.

However it is currently estimated that the costs to the consumer are around £1.40 a year per utility bill.