2014-08-14  

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Solar Developers Challenge the Government

Following the announcement that four of the biggest solar firms have called for a judicial review on Government plans to halt solar subsidies for large scale solar parks over 5MW in capacity, renewable energy experts Fisher German consider this an interference to an already precarious industry.

The latest Government intervention into the solar market looks set to be challenged by Solarcentury, Lark Energy, TGC Renewables and Orta Solar Farms. These solar park developers have launched an appeal against Government plans to end the financial support mechanism from April 2015. This would bring to an end the Renewables Obligation (RO) support for parks exceeding 5MW some two years earlier than initially proposed.

Solar

Harry Edwards, solar specialist at Fisher German, comments, “there has already been a recent High Court ruling in favour of 14 British solar installation and construction companies in their damages claim against the Government, so these four developers could be successful in their appeal.

If the latest Government plans are found to be unlawful, parks exceeding 5MW could continue as they do currently although given the legal time frames it is likely that the larger parks will still have to seek funding under the proposed Contracts for Differences (CfD) subsidy scheme.

This latest judicial review follows the 2011 unlawful policy changes to the Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) and further demonstrates how unpredictable the industry is. Operators in this industry need investment security and stability if it is to continue to thrive and therefore I can understand why the developers have chosen to challenge the Government’s intervention.

The latest High Court decision to overturn a decision by Eric Pickles to block a 24MW solar farm in Suffolk gives the developers further hope that the Government is again wrong and should be challenged.”

Harry concludes “I hope to see this premature closure of the RO subsidy scheme for solar parks deemed unlawful. Renewable energy accounted for 15% of UK electricity generated in 2013 with solar energy being one of the more popular and cheaper forms available. Solar is close to achieving grid parity and then subsidies will no longer be required, so it would be a huge disappointment if the Government were to slow this progress down. The UK still has their 2020 target to meet, a challenge we must remember, that the Government set the industry.”

Fisher german

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