Future of solar subsidies to be decided todayCourt of appeal to decide today

25 January 2012

Solar panels

Feed in tariffs offer payments to homes producing their own electricity

Today there will be a crucial ruling about Government plans to cut the amount of money paid to householders who produce their own energy.  

The case is about the feed-in tariff (FIT) which offers cash payments to households who produce their own electricity at home with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

The government wants to reduce the payments and is trying to appeal the court’s original decision that said the way it carried out the consultation into the proposed cuts was unlawful.

Update 25 January: DECC has lost its right to appeal. This means that the higher rate of FIT will still be possible for solar PV systems installed and registered before 3 March. See our news story for more details.

Solar panels – lower cash payments

If the government wins the appeal it means only solar panels installed and registered before 12 December 2011 will receive the higher rate of  FIT, of 43.3p/kWh. Anything installed after this would get the lower rate of 21p/kWh from 1 April 2012.

If the government loses the higher rate will apply for longer – for solar panels installed and registered before 3 March 2012.

Our in-depth guide to the feed-in-tariff explains in more detail how the scheme works and how the proposed changes will impact solar panel installations.

Solar proposals 'unlawful'

Friends of the Earth and solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun took the government to court because they said plans to cut the amount of money paid weren't given a fair consultation.

The High Court agreed with them - because the proposed date when eligibility for higher payment rates would end (12 December 2011) was before the end of the consultation (23 December 2011). Before the announcement it was believed that any changes in the rate of FIT would only apply on or after 1 April 2012.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) then applied for permission to appeal against the High Court ruling

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Read our solar panels live Q&A

Our team of experts answered your solar panel questions in our live Q&A, covering everything from energy savings and feed-in tariffs to installation, inverters and maintenance. 

Download all the questions and answers at Which.co.uk/solarlive.