After months going through the courts, the UK government’s battle to implement plans to cut payments for any solar scheme completed after 12 December – 11 days before the official consultation closed – has come to an unsuccessful end.
On Friday, the Supreme Court rejected the Government’s request to hear its appeal against the earlier High Court ruling shortly before Christmas that the Government’s plans were unlawful.
Responding to the Supreme Court’s decision on the feed-in tariffs appeal, Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Secretary Edward Davey said,: “We are disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court not to grant permission to hear this case. 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 microgeneration technologies for the many, not the few.”
"This is the third court that's ruled that botched Government solar plans are illegal – a landmark decision which will prevent Ministers causing industry chaos with similar subsidy cuts in future,” commented Friends of the Earth's Executive Director, Andy Atkins. "The Coalition must now get on with the urgent task of restoring confidence in UK solar power. The Government recently pledged a huge increase in solar by the end of the decade; it must now spell out how it is going to achieve this.”
The High Court ruling and subsequent Supreme Court rejection of the Government’s appeal followed legal challenges brought by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms, Solarcentury and HomeSun, late last year. The decision was upheld by the Court of appeal on 25 January 2012.
Despite the victory for the solar industry, Daniel Green, CEO of HomeSun, is concerned about how the court battle will impact the sector moving forward. “This now finally puts an end to DECC’s feed-in tariff fiasco. Unfortunately however, this does not repair the damage to the industry which has now been decimated and a huge opportunity for this country squandered,” he said on Friday.
“What has been particularly disappointing is that Ed Davey, who was not involved at the time of the consultation or the subsequent appeal, failed to have the strength to reverse DECC’s decision to cut the tariff and continued to appeal in vain against his predecessor’s law-breaking. He will now be branded a weak loser whereas he could have been seen as a powerful champion of industry and innovation,” concluded Green.