Panel firm beats government with solar feed-in action

Last month the government revealed plans to halve cash paid to consumers through the feed-in tariff scheme from 12 December – leaving companies like Solarlec less than six weeks to install panels on hundreds of homes.

Director Nick Keighley said: “We’ve been put in an almost impossible position with 330 installations to complete in five-and-a-half weeks, around 20 of which are still awaiting planning permission.

“We understand there is a case for the FIT rate to be changed but we feel so angry about the way the government has gone about it – they are potentially putting up to 39,000 jobs in the solar industry at risk just before Christmas.”

Solarlec claims the government has exceeded its powers under the Energy Act 2008 because the consultation period doesn’t end until the 23rd of December. Solarlec has also contacted Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans, who has raised their concerns with the Chancellor George Osborne and energy secretary Chris Huhne.

Meanwhile, the CBI has described the government decision as an ‘own-goal’.

John Cridland, CBI Director-General will say that the low-carbon sector - which has grown across the world throughout the recession - risks being derailed in the UK by unexpected changes, with the loss of thousands of jobs.

He said: “This is the latest in a string of government own goals, following the Carbon Reduction Commitment becoming a pure revenue-raiser and the North Sea oil and gas tax.

“As you all know, moving the goal posts doesn’t just destroy projects and jobs, it creates a mood of uncertainty that puts off investors and they wonder what’s coming next.

“Some companies have invested heavily in solar photovoltaic systems, and in the supply chains needed to install them. That commitment has been undermined by the feed-in tariff decision – and so industry trust and confidence in the government has evaporated. This bodes poorly for investment in future initiatives.”

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