Installers kick off next round of DECC legal action

A number of PV installation companies have issued a claim to the High Court for £2.2 million compensation from the government.

The claim is for losses incurred as a result of the attempt by The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to introduce unlawful cuts to the Feed-in Tariff in October last year. Prospect Law, the legal team that defeated the government over the cuts, issued DECC with a pre action ‘Letter Before Claim’ in July on behalf of three solar energy companies. The letter requested that DECC agrees to pay compensation for the losses suffered, but the group was forced to head to the High Court following a letter of response in August in which DECC refused to accept liability and insisted it was not responsible for losses.

A number of other solar companies are expected to join the claim before the end of October, as the court gathers evidence,  increasing pressure on DECC to accept responsibility for losses incurred as a result of its illegal policy changes.

Nick Keighley, founding director, Solarlec PV Solutions Ltd, one of the companies seeking damages, said: “We are hopeful for the future of the solar, with both the public in support of it and young people determined to be employed the sector, but companies such as ours must be in a healthy condition to create the solar future Britain wants.”

He added: “DECC had every opportunity to stop this issue reaching the courts. All the Department needed to do was accept responsibility and help our businesses recover to deliver at the scale and pace required to meet its own policy objectives. The government simply needs to accept that the losses incurred as a result of its unlawful conduct were very real and caused substantial harm to our firms. One only has to look at the sharp drop in installation numbers to see the impact on consumer confidence. Our hope is that consumers will soon realise, once again, what a sound investment solar is. But it will be no thanks to the government. If it takes the High Court to impress on DECC their responsibility to the industry then so be it.”

A spokesperson from Prospect Law added: “By casting aside the rules under which the solar industry operated, the government caused major financial losses and materially harmed the confidence of both consumers and the industry. Solar is an industry which the public wants and believes in, but significant damage has been done to the sector. It’s now up to the High Court to call the government to account for its unlawful actions and the damage which has been suffered by forcing DECC to issue compensation.”