Government Overruled By Supreme Court - FITs Latest

The Supreme Court has just kicked out the appeal made by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The Government's actions over the feed-in tariffs (FITs) has been judged as unlawful for the third time. More below:

News just in --> Government overruled for a third time

One day after Ecobuild - the world's biggest green technology gathering - the UK Government has been overruled by the Supreme Court in its attempt to retrospectively cut the feed-in tariff (FIT) rate from 43.3pkW to 21pkW. Any PV systems installed between December 12th 2011 and March 3rd 2012 will now qualify for the higher rate.

The tariff rate fiasco is easily explained: the Government simply misjudged its finances. It assigned just 1% of its sustainability budget to solar PV, which has turned out to be by far and away the most popular green technology.

A clean energy future

The UK's solar PV industry is still in its infancy but has grown tremendously in the past year. The industry opinion is that Government's mismanagement of the FITs has jeopardised thousands of jobs as well as the UK's sustainable energy movement.

Solarcentury's Jeremy Leggett - one of the major players involved in the court case said, "The Supreme Court has today confirmed that the Government simply has no grounds to appeal the decision that its handling of solar Feed-in tariffs was illegal.

"This final step in the legal process has wasted much needed time and money and now we, the renewables industry, simply want to get on with creating our clean energy future. Renewables can only play the pivotal role necessary to deliver a new green economy if we have a stable market and investor confidence backed by lawful, predictable and carefully considered policy."

Good for consumers, less so for small providers

The FIT situation has been terrific for the 200,000 consumers of solar PV over the past couple of years: they've qualified for a tariff rate that was set unrealistically high, at 43.3pkW. The lower 21p rate is more reasonable, especially as it's coincided with a drop in the cost of silicon, used to manufacture photovoltaics.

But it's been, and it still is, tough for the PV industry. Small solar companies have had to balance economies of scale in line with constantly changing tariff rates. The instability has been damaging to the young PV industry.

The photovoltaic technology hasn't been under question at any point, and the solar companies who have been in dispute with the Government are critical because they understand its potential to improve the energy efficiency of the UK far better than Government's budgeters.

I was halfway through writing about The Eco Experts' terrific three days at Ecobuild when this news came in...
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