Policy & regulation, Solar, News

The solar sector remains deeply divided over the continuing feed-in tariff (FIT) wrangle, with some firms arguing that a drawn-out legal challenge and appeal process is more damaging for the industry than the proposed cuts.

Domestic photovoltaics (PV) of 100MW were added to Ofgem’s FIT register between 12 December (the date from which the government proposes to halve the subsidy) and 10 January, suggesting continued appetite despite uncertainty. Ofgem has accredited 470MW of domestic PV since the start of the scheme in April 2010.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) would not comment on the potential impact of losing its appeal on 13 January. “We have to see the outcome and review our options,” said a spokeswoman. The government has already topped up the FIT budget with £197 million from the Renewables Obligation budget.
A spokeswoman for Solarcentury, one of the parties challenging the subsidy cut, denied the case damaged the industry. She said there was a delay between installations appearing publicly on Ofgem’s FIT register and their actual accreditation date.
“Pending the outcome of the review, there is no change to the position of the 31 October – installers must use the proposed 21p/kWh tariff.” She said that if Decc won the case, it “would have the power to change tariffs as and when it chose”.
“We did not want to go to court, but the government must act within the law. We echo the findings of the [Energy and Climate Change and Environmental Audit Committee] report that the process and scheme were not run effectively.”

by Brendan Coyne

This article first appeared in Utility Week’s print edition of 13 January 2012.
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