Solar Companies to Sue Government for Millions
Author: Lima Curtis
Published: Thursday, 24 January 2013
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AN ANGRY group of solar companies plan to sue the government £140m for business they say was lost after feed-in-tariffs were cut in 2011.
Despite the cuts being found ‘legally flawed’ in court, the group of 17 say they saw a sudden and dramatic fall in business.
In 2011 the government announced the amount that could be earned from solar panels would drop from 43p per kWh to 21p, meaning panel installation became half as appealing overnight.
The solar industry managed to prove the government was at fault for announcing the FiT cuts before it was legally allowed to, but the damage was already done to their market.
The companies fighting say they had to lay off thousands of workers and lost millions of pounds.
A spokesperson for The Eco Experts said: “The solar industry was hit hard by this announcement and solar installations dropped by a staggering 90% after the changes at the end of 2011. There had been a huge solar boom before this and anyone with a foot in the renewables industry would be extremely cross, as it is likely their business was ruined by this move.”
The government said they made the changes because solar panels prices had dropped so much, panel owners were making excessive returns.
The Eco Experts spokesperson added: “If you look at the return on investment you get from solar panels now, it hasn’t changed since the feed-in-tariff was first introduced, thanks to a massive drop in module and installation costs. You are still looking to get between a 8-12% ROI, which way more than anything you would get on the high street.
“However, the government’s move meant a lot of people were worried about the stability of the market. They didn’t want to be left short changed.”
The full 17 of companies bringing the legal claim are Solar Power PV, Solarlec, Crystal Windows and Doors, Breyer Group, Freetricity, E-tricity, Foz Electrical, Green Home, CI Installations, Viscount Solar, Vsolar, House Choice, Evo Energy, Solar Panels Direct, Monitor My Solar, Apollo Energy and Cleaner Air Solutions.