Government loses solar feed-in tariff appealThousands of consumers to get higher solar rates

26 March 2012

Solar panel on roof of house

On Friday 23 March the Supreme Court rejected the UK government's appeal over the feed-in tariff (FIT) ruling. Over 30,000 businesses and consumers will now receive the higher FIT rate of 43.3p per kilowatt hour.

A judge accepted that the government's attempts to slash the solar feed-in tariff in late 2011 were unlawful.

This means that consumers who had solar panels installed between 12 December 2011 and 3 March 2012 will be eligible to receive the feed-in tariff at the previous higher rate.

Our Which? guide on how to buy solar panels guides you through the buying process and reveals how much you would earn from the feed-in tariff on the new lower rate.

Solar panel subsidies

The feed-in tariff is an incentive aimed at encouraging more homeowners to install solar PV panels to produce energy. The government agreed to pay owners for electricity that they fed back into the grid.

The original rates paid up to 43.3p per kilowatt hour for the energy generated. However, the proposed government cut to the tariff would have meant that panels installed after 12 December 2011 would have received a reduced rate of 21p per kilowatt hour.

Controversy over FIT

When the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced the changes to FIT, consumers who had paid deposits for solar panel installations were unsure whether they'd get their panels installed before the December deadline. 

Others were frustrated that the cut-off for installation fell before the government had officially closed its consultation on the issue. 

Which? called for the government to honour the rate for those consumers who had already signed contracts, meaning that they would not be left high and dry by the changes. 

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