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UK Government May Get Sued over Solar Power Subsidy Change

FoE to sue UK government over solar power subsidies FiT cut

Solar power subsidies are being cut in half in the UK. The change, which is supposed to solar panel installations completed after December 12, has outraged consumers and solar energy advocates. It also makes government policies in the UK a little less than trustworthy. At least one organization is now getting ready to sue the UK government over the changes.

Friends of the Earth has warned that it may start legal action against the government by the end of this week unless plans are scrapped to cut the level of subsidies paid to homeowners installing solar panels,” the UK’s Guardian reports.

“The environmental charity says this cut-off point – two weeks before consultation ends – is unlawful and will lead to unfinished or planned projects being abandoned.”

Specific details of the FiT cut are as follows:

Properties which retrofit solar panels with an installed capacity of up to 4 kW will see rates slashed from 43.3 pence per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to 21.0 pence, while tariffs for installations between 4-10 kW and 10-50 kW will see a 53-55 pct reduction.

Projects starting on or after December 12, will receive current tariffs until April 1, 2012 but new tariffs will apply from then, the government said.

It certainly isn’t helpful to efforts to supposedly cut greenhouse gas emissions, and the policy changed has happened extremely fast, been “fast-tracked” by the conservative government. It is also projected to cost the country tens of thousands of jobs.

Schools, small businesses, community centers, housing complexes, and more will be affected by the decision. And, well, the UK solar industry is expected to be “killed stone dead,” as some have put it:

“Such deep cuts would kill the UK solar industry stone dead,” said Howard Johns, of the solar industry’s Cut Don’t Kill campaign and also the managing director of Southern Solar. “Wiping out 4,000 companies and 25,000 jobs by cutting too deeply would be an appalling waste of economic potential. Our message to [the] government is cut us, but don’t kill us. We want a sustainable cut that would allow us to survive and deliver the green growth that David Cameron said he was committed to.”

….Decc admitted that there had been three times more solar installations than it predicted since the scheme began on April 2010, during which time it said the cost of an average home installation had fallen by at least 30%. It said the proposed cuts would reduce the estimated cost of the solar Fit scheme in 2014-15 by three-quarters, to £250m a year, adding about £3 a year to electricity bills.

Cancellation of solar power orders started coming within hours of the FiT cut.

Image via afsart

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