Thursday, 26 January 2012

#Green power bids 'thrown into chaos' by new appeal

SOLAR power-producing Scots saw their green ventures thrown into more "disarray and chaos" yesterday as the UK Government vowed to pursue further legal action to cut the price it will pay for the clean energy.

The sector was given a boost after the Court of Appeal ruled Whitehall's attempt to lower payments to small-scale producers of solar power, generated by panels installed after December last year, was illegal.

However, the breakthrough was quickly thwarted by the announcement from Energy Minister Chris Huhne that a further appeal will be taken to the Supreme Court.

The Government wants to reduce the price paid for solar-generated electricity fed into the National Grid from 43p to 21p per KWh but faces claims the move puts 29,000 jobs at risk, some 2000 of them in Scotland.

John Conway, operations manager at Solar Panel Scotland, of Linwood, Renfrewshire, which manufactures and installs solar panels, said the further challenge left damaging uncertainty in the industry.

Mr Conway said: "We are all shocked and we are in a situation of disarray.

"Customers won't commit to signing contracts until they know what the position is.

"There is confusion yet again. We have a massive bank of orders in abeyance and the phones were crazy this morning after the court ruling with people asking if we can come out and do the work.

"We can only quote the lower tariff because we are respon-sible and have to hang fire."

The UK Government wants to bring down the value of its Feed In Tariffs (FiT) paid to homeowners and communities in line with the falling cost of solar technology, with claims the allocated budget can no longer support the higher rates.

The Court of Appeal ruling, as it stands, will allow the Government to bring in the lower rate in for panels installed after March 3 this year, giving people a window of opportunity to take advantage of the higher tariff.

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