There are some burning issues which have been making headlines of late. Foremost among them is the judicial review sought by four of the biggest solar power companies in Britain with regard to the removal of support for large solar
farms. The renewable obligation of the Government necessitates that energy suppliers obtain requisite power proportions from green sources. The companies are adamant about the fact that their business has witnessed damages considering the decision of the Energy Secretary Ed Davey with regard to ending support for large scale solar farms by next April. This has sparked an angry wave of protests in the sector.
This decision is followed by the clearing of compensation claims by the High Court. This mainly pertains to the manner in which the rules on subsidies for domestic solar panels were changed by the Department for Energy and Climate Change. The rules were changed under the feed-in tariff scheme. According to noted sources from the industry, this can lead to a total bill of around £132 million. The recent judicial review points at Davey of committing a similar mistake with a scheme that provides support for large scale solar generation on the roofs of industrial buildings or in arrays of panels which are ground based.
The renewables obligation was setup in the year 2002 with an intention to provide certainty and confidence to the industry which is in a fledgling state. The claimants, namely TGC Renewables, Orta Solar Farms, Solar century and Lark Energy have been protesting over the damages to their businesses over the withdrawal of support which has been unexpected. According to spokespersons connected to the deal, the Government has been putting the renewable’s obligation in place to provide certainty to solar businesses through legislation. The Government has been trying to remove the same through the back door.
According to the claimants, the actions of the DECC will lead to the loss of a number of jobs and business which is worth about hundreds of millions of pounds which is a huge sum. This is especially significant at a time when costs of solar energy is coming down and the sector is really close to creating energy at price which is lower than gas and will steadily become free of subsidies by the time the decade comes to a close.
Davey’s decision is being called a sham
by the protestors. According to them, solar innovation has been proceeding at a staggering pace and this means reduction in costs even further. If these measures were not introduced, solar would have been on its way towards becoming a cheap source of renewable energy. Stable and lawful policies and measures are a must if the sector has to witness growth and development in the near future but this development is a step taken in the wrong direction according to the protesting companies. It remains to be seen what course the legal challenge to solar support cuts takes anytime soon.