The U.K.'s Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court's ruling that reductions in PV feed-in tariffs (FITs) introduced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are illegal.
‘Today we have reminded government that it will be held to account when it acts illegally and tries to push through unlawful policy changes,’ said Jeremy Leggett, chairman of PV installation firm Solarcentury, in a statement. He called the decision a ‘historic judgment’ that ‘should be welcomed by the entire renewable energy industry.’
Solarcentury, along with Friends of the Earth and HomeSun, made the original legal challenge against the DECC last December.
‘This decision will be a surprise to many observers,’ said Clare King, a renewable energy lawyer at law firm Osborne Clarke, in a statement. ‘We, like many others, will be studying the judgment closely so as to fully understand the implications for the U.K. solar industry.’
The DECC has already announced plans to make a further appeal to the country's Supreme Court – an action that King said will ‘create yet more uncertainty’ for the U.K. solar sector, as projects are likely to be delayed.
‘What the solar community now needs is stewardship, not combat,’ she said.
Chris Huhne, U.K. energy and climate change secretary, reiterated the DECC's view that FITs must be adjusted in order to be sustainable.
‘We want to maximize the number of installations that are possible within the available budget rather than use available money to pay a higher tariff to half the number of installations,’ he said in a statement. ‘Solar PV can have a strong and vibrant future in the U.K., and we want a lasting FIT scheme to support that future and jobs in the industry.’
Huhne added that the DECC has already introduced new regulations in Parliament that would institute a 21 p/kWh rate beginning March 3.