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Solar installations continue dramatic decline

6 January 2012

Crisis continues to engulf the solar industry as major landlords say that a reprieve in the cut of the feed in tarriff won't convince them to restart PV schemes, reported Inside Housing.

Landlords’ warnings came as the government was this week accused by campaigners and politicians of increasing uncertainty over the future of the FIT by lodging an appeal against a High Court ruling before christmas that the early slashing of the FIT rate was illegal.

Organisations including Peabody, Guinness Partnership and Salix Homes, that had scrapped schemes based on the higher feed-in tariff as they were no longer viable after the 12 December cut, confirmed that the outcome of the latest legal wrangle would not impact their plans.

Meanwhile, solar electricity installations in the last week of 2011 fell by two thirds on the same period last year in the wake of the government’s cut to solar subsidies, reported Building. Government statistics showed that only 35 installations were completed in the final week of last year compared with 103 in the final week of 2010.

Last month environmental group Friends of the Earth and solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun won a joint legal challenge to the government’s halving of the FIT - payments made to producers of renewable electricity - from 43.3p/kilowatt hour to 21p/kWh.

The judge ruled the cut was ‘legally flawed’ because it was made on 12 December before the close of a consultation on 23 December.

However, on Wednesday the government confirmed it had lodged an appeal against the decision on the grounds that it disagrees with the High Court’s assertion that the new FIT is inconsistent with the scheme’s aims.

A decision on whether the FIT will return to the 43.3p rate will not be made until the appeal process is concluded. If the appeal is allowed, a hearing is unlikely to go ahead until after 11 January.

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