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Tag: Department Of Energy

Turmoil over Feed in Tariff Rates Cuts for 2012

Businesses considering installing Solar PV are all rushing to install before March 2012, though for some even that may be too late.

At a meeting at the House of Commons today between industry representatives, the Government reiterated its position on the Comprehensive Feed in Tariff review.

Rachel Solomon-Williams, Head of the Feed-in Tariff Review confirmed today that the Comprehensive Review is underway in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), although she was unable to confirm details of when it would be revealed, or what the rates will look like.

It was however established that DECC has to operate within the Treasury-imposed, fixed envelope. It was made clear that if this budget overruns, the funding will need to come from DECC, for which, unfortunately, there is no budget.

She also reiterated that there are no planned changes before April 1, 2012 “unless earlier action is deemed necessary,”

And it is the fact that the Government consistently keep repeating that phrase at ever more frequent intervals that is causing major unease with potential customers.

After all, many still remember that phrase from the recent fast-track review, which ended in tariff rates as low as 8.5p for large scale projects, the concern is that all project over 10kWp could now also be affected and the rate drop  to a similar level.

Whilst the Government wouldn’t be pushed further, the chatter in the room and the corridors afterwards was that the most likely outcome was a 10% cut on the first band up to 4kWp, possibly the same up to 10kWp, a heavier reduction (and a new band) between 10kWp and 20kWp and a swingeing reduction for the 20kWp to 50Kwp sized systems. The chatter also suggested that the upper end of the cuts may be introduced as early as January 2012, in the same way that the Fast Track review effectively killed off all the projects over 50kWp, a rapid implementation of a >20kWp band would effectively kill off nearly all the commercial schemes currently under consideration, meaning that the only place left to install Solar PV was homes and small businesses.

Hence the rush to get systems installed before the end of this year.

Watch this space..

Solar firms file for judicial review against feed-in tariff cuts!

Group of solar developers launch legal action, alleging government has trampled over its own processes with feed-in tariff review…

A group of 11 solar firms filed a claim in the High Court late yesterday, seeking a judicial review against energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne and his decision to launch a fast-track review of the feed-in tariff incentives available for larger solar installations.

The legal action has been widely anticipated ever since the government shocked the industry by launching the surprise review on 7 February. It accuses the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) of reneging on previous commitments to not cut feed-in tariffs until 2012, and failing to adhere to its previously stated processes for reviewing the incentives.

Speaking on behalf of the group filing the claim, Mark Shorrock, chief executive of Low Carbon Solar UK, said that the companies felt that a judicial reviews was the "only course of action left" after raising their concerns over the proposed cuts with the government.

"We hope the secretary of state of energy and climate change will abandon this fast-track review and work with us to find a more appropriate solution for the future of the feed-in tariff," he said in a statement. "In pulling back on a commitment to support solar energy, the government will cause the abandonment of hundreds of community-scale schemes. The cost of not getting this right, aside from the government meeting its climate change targets, include 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. "

Speaking to BusinessGreen, a spokeswoman for the group said the companies were seeking an expedited judicial review that could be completed before the end of the government’s consultation on its proposed cuts to feed-in tariffs, which is scheduled to end next month.

The legal challenge has been launched by Alectron Investments Ltd, Element Power Ltd, Juwi Renewable Energies Ltd, Lark Energy Limited, Low Carbon Solar UK Ltd, MO3 Power Ltd, Donald Anderson, Guy Anderson, Kate Kenyon and The Green Company (Europe) Ltd.

However, the case will be watched closely by the wider solar industry. Many companies have warned that the proposed cuts to feed-in tariffs of between 40 and 70 per cent would make virtually all installations with more than 50kW of capacity financially unviable.

The application for a judicial review centres on a series of legal arguments relating to the government’s handling of the fast-track review.

It notes that previous indications from DECC suggested that the first review of the feed-in tariff scheme would not take place until 2012, and no changes would be implemented until April 2013.

It also claims that, while DECC indicated in November 2011 that an earlier review might take place, this was originally intended to be carried out over a 12-month period with any changes to tariffs implemented from 2012. The government is now planning to impose any cuts to feed-in tariffs from the start of August.

The application points out that the government failed to announce a "trigger point", despite ministerial assertions that an early review would only take place once that pre-announced "trigger point" was reached.

Finally, it accuses the government of failing to provide adequate evidence that the UK is facing an "excessive deployment" of large-scale solar projects that will undermine the effectiveness of the feed-in tariff scheme. It argues that it is "irrational " for the government to cut incentives for cost-effective solar farms and larger installations when the UK has to meet legally binding renewable energy targets.

DECC was unavailable to comment at the time of going to press.

However, the government has consistently argued that cuts to feed-in tariffs are required to stop large solar farms eating into the funds available for domestic rooftop installations. As such, DECC is expected to contest any judicial review.

by James Murray ‘Business Green’, 19th of April 2011 , See his original post here: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2044601/solar-firms-file-judicial-review-feed-tariff-cuts