Solar loss claim increased to £50m
More solar firms have joined legal action seeking damages from the government over its handling of cuts to feed-in tariff payments, increasing the claim from £2.2 million to around £50 million.
Prospect Law, which is taking the case, has issued the Department of Energy and Climate Change with a ‘letter before claim’ on behalf of five more solar installation and construction companies. It said it expects more firms to file proceedings ‘within the next few days’, as the deadline for claims is 31 October.
FIT payments are made for electricity generated from photovoltaic panels. The government announced it was reducing its rate of payment from 43.3p per kilowatt hour to 21p/kWh with six weeks notice at the end of October last year.
The lack of notice for the cut was challenged in the High Court in January and found to be ‘unlawful and unfair’. DECC then took appeals to the Appeal Court and Supreme Court, both of which were unsuccessful.
By the time the case concluded in March many solar installations had been postponed or abandoned. The social housing sector was particularly badly hit, with a recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation study finding only a minority of projects were able to go ahead.
Companies calling for damages include Solar Power PV Ltd, Crystal Windows and Doors, Solarlec PV Solutions, and E-tricity. Other claimants have not yet been named.
Simon Gillett, chief executive officer of one of the new claimants, E-tricity, said: ‘The way in which DECC attempted to introduce these cuts to FIT rates caused our business and the industry significant damage and loss. By issuing a letter before claim today we are requesting that the government acknowledges the losses it caused, and takes the appropriate action to compensate us.’