Court of Appeal ruling on government solar challenge unlikely this week

The Court of Appeal is yet to pass judgement on the government’s bid (Friday 13 January 2012) to overturn last month’s High Court ruling that its plans to cut solar subsidy payments are illegal. The judges indicated that a decision by the end of this week would be “rather optimistic”.

Friends of the Earth is now urging the government to end the uncertainty hanging over the solar industry by coming up with a plan to safeguard around 30,000 jobs currently under threat from ministers’ plans.

The environmental campaigning charity is calling on the government to come up with a Plan B, including:

• Putting regulations before Parliament on Monday to enable solar tariff payments to be cut by the end of February – in a forward looking and planned way, in line with falling installation costs.
• Increasing the amount of money available to the scheme using the multi-million pound tax revenues generated by solar firms – this will safeguard the industry and enable more homes, businesses and communities to switch to clean energy.

Friends of the Earth policy and campaigns director, Craig Bennett said: “By pushing through with this appeal Ministers have prolonged the uncertainty hanging over the solar industry – now they must urgently come up with a Plan B to safeguard the 30,000 jobs under threat.

“David Cameron should put a proposal before Parliament on Monday to cut solar subsidy rates before the end of February – and give the industry some much-needed certainty.

“More money could easily be found to save solar from the multi-million pounds in tax that solar firms generate.

“Win or lose, the government must breathe life back into UK solar to help more cash-strapped families free themselves from soaring fuel bills by plugging into clean British energy.”