Clean Power UK PV Industry May Be In Danger

Published on March 29th, 2012 | by Charis Michelsen


UK Government Appeal to High Court Solar Feed-in Tariff Decision Rejected by Supreme Court

March 29th, 2012 by  

UK PV Industry May Be In Danger

Solar energy is a quickly growing field in many countries, as we’ve pointed out many times here on CleanTechnica. The United Kingdom, however, finds itself in a position of hobbling growth in the PV sector, as feed-in tariffs for photovoltaics have been cut roughly in half.

While arrays completed by March 3 are still eligible for the old tariffs, the UK government tried to cut funding for such projects much more abruptly at the end of 2011. The UK’s High Court deemed this illegal, and the UK government decided to appeal that decision. Now, the Supreme Court has refused to hear the government’s appeal. Nonetheless, legal uncertainty of the UK government’s constant appeals inevitably causes uncertainty in the industry and also ends of leading to rushed efforts to meet deadlines and poor workmanship, as time for quality control is reduced or gone altogether.

Renewable Energy Is a Good Thing, People

The Department of Energy and Clinic Change (DECC) reported on its website its disappointment that the court refused to hear its case, saying:

“[The government is moving to ensure the] future stability and cost effectiveness of solar and other microgeneraton technologies for the many, not the few.”

However, this supposed good intention is in strong contrast to the solar industry’s impression of this story. Solar Century chairman Jeremy Leggett has made the point that while the UK has a target of 20 gigawatts of PV by 2020, it only has 1 gigawatt installed so far. Pacing itself doesn’t seem like what’s needed at this point.

The question now is whether or not the UK will be able to continue installing solar power at the rate necessary to meet its goals for renewable energy with the tariff cuts in place — at least two gigawatts per year. Given the current state of the UK PV industry, the government is going to have to lay out some sort of plan in order to meet its goals, and so far it doesn’t seem to have one.

Hopefully a plan will be forthcoming shortly, or the UK will fall behind the rest of Europe in clean and green energy.

Comments or questions? Let us know below.

Source: Renewables International
Image: Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author

spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.

  • Hope

    We may not be racing ahead like.Germany or Italy, but we’re moving, still.
    My street has had three solar installs this year, and I saw another three going up yesterday on my travels.

    Pricing will be the big issue, and many are coming round to solar on the basis of the bills hitting the Matt.
    Also we have to contend with a lot of NIMBYism, concerns over effects on house prices (its free energy people, it adds value) and the number one myth: the UK doesn’t get enough sun to make solar work.

    Wind ior tidal s realistically a better option for the UK with the entire country being an island, but obviously that involves high finance and private interests.

    • Funny how people can think the UK doesn’t get enough sun while Germany leads the world in solar power. But believe me, i’m not surprised — i’m sure there are Americans in the South who have stranger ideas.

  • I agree, the industry has hit a brick wall with consumer confidence in the solar industry flat lining at the moment. A poorly managed tariff reduction has left people thinking if they can’t get the top rate, then I won’t bother.

    Continuing energy prices will mean people installing eventually, but the current incentives by then will be a distant memory leaving people wishing they should have installed in the earlier days.

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