The Supreme Court has rejected the UK government’s appeal over cuts to the domestic feed-in tariff scheme. In the latest of three court cases, judges upheld the decision of a judicial review that ruled the department of energy and climate change’s (DECC) proposed revisions to the FiT were “legally flawed”.
“The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has refused permission to the secretary of state for energy and climate change to appeal the court of appeal decision in this matter,” read an official statement.
The Supreme Court’s decision is final and the department will not be taking the appeal any further. Alasdair Grainger from DECC’s feed-in tariff team confirmed that they would not take the case to the European court if the case was lost.
The court’s verdict marks the end of a four-month period of uncertainty for the UK solar market. During which, installers of solar PV in the UK were unable to tell customers what feed-in tariff rate they would receive for their installation.
The ruling means that all systems installed between December 12, 2011 and March 3, 2012 will receive the original, higher feed-in tariff rates for 25 years. The result means that over 60,000 installs will be eligible for bumper FiT rates as high as £0.454/kWh.
Responding to the Supreme Court’s decision, energy and climate change secretary, Edward Davey said: “We are disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court not to grant permission to hear this case. But the Court’s decision draws a line under the case. We will now focus all our efforts on ensuring the future stability and cost effectiveness of solar and other microgeneration technologies for the many, not the few.”
Friends of the Earth executive director, Andy Atkins, said: “This is the third court that’s ruled that botched government solar plans are illegal – a landmark decision which will prevent ministers causing industry chaos with similar subsidy cuts in future. The coalition must now get on with the urgent task of restoring confidence in UK solar power.
The decision marks the end of continued legal wrangling between the government, Friends of the Earth and two UK-based solar companies. As a result of the ruling, the Supreme Court ordered DECC to pay the legal costs of the other parties.