Legal action launched against FIT review

20th April 2011


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  • Mitigation ,
  • Renewable ,
  • Energy ,
  • Generation

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IEMA

A group of solar energy companies has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the government decision to reassess the feed-in tariff scheme.

The application was made yesterday (18 April 2011), following weeks of criticism from the solar sector of the unexpected review and the dramatic changes to the tariff rates proposed to take effect from 1 August.

The group of businesses are arguing that the fast-track review clearly contradicts “clear expectations” set by DECC in November 2010 that the results of any review would not be implemented until 2012.

The review application also argues that there has not been the “excessive deployment” of large-scale solar installations that is believed to have prompted behind the fast-track review and criticises the move to target the “most cost effective and efficient” of solar photovoltaic (PV) projects as “irrational”.


Mark Shorrock, CEO of Low Carbon Solar UK, speaking on behalf of the applicants said that they hoped their action would result in the fast-track review being abandoned.

“In pulling back on a commitment to support solar energy, the government will cause the abandonment of hundreds of community scale schemes,” he said.

“The cost of not getting this right now, aside from meeting climate change targets, includes the creation of new jobs, a diversified income for farmers and landowners, reduced energy costs for businesses and the provision of more secure and reliable energy for the UK. “

DECC has confirmed it has been served with the judicial review and will consider it.

A spokesperson said: “We support sustained growth in the solar industry and have proposed measures for consultation that will protect the FITs scheme for homes, small businesses and communities. We encourage those with an interest to respond.”

The organisations behind the legal challenge are Alectron Investments, Element Power, Juwi Renewable Energies, Lark Energy Limited, Low Carbon Solar UK, MO3 Power and The Green Company (Europe).

They are all members of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), which is currently finalising its response to the DECC consultation.

REA CEO Gaynor Hartnell said: “We sympathise with these companies. By proposing measures that will come into force before organisations could possibly complete their installations, the government is essentially introducing legislation retroactively, which is wrong.”

The news of the review came as prime minister David Cameron came under fire for pursuing an “anti-renewables agenda” by an award-winning UK renewable energy firm.

In a letter to Cameron, David Hunt, a director of Eco Environments, said the fast-track review of the FIT scheme “will effectively sacrifice the UK’s flourishing solar industry.”

He said: “There is widespread frustration that the government does not understand this technology or its potential. Solar is crucial to a genuinely sustainable and competitive energy system in the UK. It could easily meet a third of the UK’s electricity needs.”

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