Solar Century Holdings Limited. 50 Great Sutton St, London, EC1V 0DF. T. +44(0)20 7549 1000.
Registered in England and Wales No. 3570325.
A judge has ordered an urgent hearing of a High Court challenge over Government plans to cut financial incentives for solar electricity. Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth (FoE) and two solar companies - Solarcentury and HomeSun - won the go-ahead to seek a ruling that the proposals are unlawful.The Judicial review will be heard on Tuesday and Wednesday (20/21 December 2011) next week.
The case centres on Government plans to cut feed-in tariff subsidies - payments made to households communities and businesses that generate green electricity through solar panels - on any installations completed after Monday this week.
Mr Justice Mitting said today the proposals had given rise to "economic risk" for those engaged in the solar industry and the challenge should be heard as a matter of urgency next week.
John Faulks, Company Secretary, Solarcentury said:
"We are pleased with the decision here at Solarcentury. But it is only the first step of the legal challenge. The Court agrees that we have a case to argue and has given us permission to challenge DECC. Next we need to persuade the Court that DECC has acted illegally. That will happen as soon as possible. The legal challenge is only part of the wider campaign by Solarcentury and the solar PV industry to get the Government to recognise the strategic value of solar PV in the energy mix and maintain viable support to build a successful industry."
He added: "The industry was expecting a cut in tariff and would have actively engaged with DECC to create a sustainable scheme including accepting significant but workable cuts. A cut of over 50% that occurred in just six weeks and before the end of a consultation period is irrational. Win or lose on Tuesday next week the industry still has to sort out the chaos DECC have already caused. They seem to have learned nothing from Spain, France or Germany about how to develop a viable renewable energy industry for the future benefit of the country."
Charlotte Webster, Solarcentury 07990 583307, 0207 8030148 Charlotte.email@example.com
Notes to editors:
1. Photographs of Friends of the Earth's action outside the High Court are available, for free at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwwfoecouk/sets/72157628428618941/
2. More than 17,000 people have asked the Government to keep supporting clean British energy - join them now at www.foe.co.uk/finaldemand
3. On Monday 31 October 2011 the Government launched a public consultation on plans to slash small-scale solar power subsidies by more than 50 per cent. http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn11_091/pn11_091.aspx
4. The Government’s decision to slash solar funding was described by the CBI as an ‘own goal’ on Thursday 10 November 2011. http://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/speeches/2011/11/john-cridlands-speech-to-cbi-east-midlands-annual-dinner/
5. Solar cuts will cost Treasury millions and destroy up to 29,000 jobs: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/solar_cuts_cost_millions_23112011.html
6. The ‘Cut, don’t kill campaign’ on www.oursolarfuture.org.uk has been joined by thousands in calling for a re think on the Governments Feed-in tariff decisions.
7. Over 11,000 people have viewed the 'Cut, don't kill' campaign video ‘The Big Solar Backtrack’ in just one week http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pGNn80T1oA
8. Solarcentury says the Government’s actions are unlawful because: the consultation pre-judges its own result and, by setting the 12 December date, DECC has failed to take account of the long lead time projects which will be made impossible by this 6 week deadline. It also breaches the legitimate expectation which solar companies and customers have that any changes to the tariff would be made in a fair way according to the correct procedures.
9. Solarcentury is calling on the Government to stop the current illegal consultation; re-do it properly and commit to setting any eligibility date for projects fairly, after the consultation process and according to the correct procedures
10. Solarcentury have many further arguments about how the Feed in Tariffs for solar PV should be funded and managed. These form part of its consultation response rather than part of the legal challenge. Examples of solar energy projects that have either been scrapped or are in jeopardy are available from Solarcentury’s press office – please call 02078030148/07990 5833079 for more information