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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