January 2012 Update on the UK Solar Feed-in Tariff: A Timeline

by Solar Selections on January 5, 2012

UK Solar Feed-in Tariff: A timelineThe solar feed-in tariff continues it’s tumultuous development into 2012, with court battles and review delays being the main developments of the new year. So where do we stand as of January 2012 regarding the deadlines and tariff reductions that were proposed last year and supposedly brought into place? Is there any tariff at all available right now? This article presents a timeline of events that should help us to understand what has happened and where we currently stand.

There have been some important dates to consider over the past few months, so let’s look at them chronologically and bring ourselves up to speed.

  • October 27th, 2011 - An unauthorised leak of information reveals that the Department of Energy and Climate Change is set to announce that the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) rates are to be fast-track reviewed. The existing deadline for installations of the 1st of April 2012 is to be brought forward to the 12th of December 2011. All installations not registered with respective Distribution Network Operators (DNO) before midnight on the 12th will receive the existing rates (43.3p for <4kWp) until April, but will then receive the new proposed rates starting (21p for <4kWp) for their lifetime of operation. The industry is stunned, and rushes to both appeal for reason against such a dramatic and speedy reduction and install as much as possible before the deadline.
  • October 31st, 2011 - The DECC releases the official consultation on the comprehensive review of the feed-in tariff on their website. The new rates are confirmed, and industry fears realised. One of the most controversial aspects of the announcements is that the new 12th December deadline is two weeks before a previously set date that ended a consultation period on the tariff. This effectively meant that before the government was meant to stop taking suggestions on how the tariff should be managed, they will have cut eligibility for new installations. Installations begin an exponential increase in frequency, whilst millions of pounds worth of planned and proposed systems are now receiving word that they will not make the cut-off, and they are to be abandoned.
  • November 22nd, 2011 - The industry marches on parliament house in London to lobby against the proposed changes. Government representatives across the UK are urged to stand up for the solar industry and a parliamentary debate is proposed. Installations reach their highest levels ever in the UK and keep climbing.
  • November 23rd, 2011 - The commons debate takes place, with Labor representative Caroline Flint speaking on behalf of industry whilst Chris Huhne, secretary of state for the DECC, speaks for the government. Whilst good representation was made on the majority of points at stake by the right honourable Mrs Flint, conservative backing helped the government turn down the vote 292 to 220, a majority of 72. The changes continued to go ahead and whilst good publicity was gathered from the march, ultimately the industry begins to resign itself to life on the reduced rates.
  • December 12th, 2011 - The cut-off day arrives and despite some trouble with system registration on the MCS website many thousands of systems are registered on the last day. Installations drop by up to 93% the next day, and the industry takes stock of what has occurred.
  • December 21st, 2011 - An appeal lodged to the High Court principally through organisations Friends of the Earth, SolarCentury and Homesun results in the ruling that the DECC acted unlawfully in its actions to fast track review the solar FiT deadline. The DECC is given until the 4th of January 2012 to appeal this decision, and the 12th December deadline becomes dependent on the outcome of this appeal.
  • January 4th, 2012 - The DECC lodges their appeal to the High Court in time, and deliberations are undertaken. At this point it is unclear how long the review process will take, but it is hopefully suggested by all to have the matter resolved before the end of January.
  • January 6th, 2012 - In an effort to give some assurance to decision making for installations occurring between the 12th of December 2011 and until the government’s appeal has been concluded, the DECC release a statement to this effect: “The tariff rate for PV installations less than or equal to 4kW will not fall below 21p for installations with an eligibility date between 12th December 2011 and March 31, 2012.” This means that all installations that are installed during this appeal stage will receive a minimum of the 21p tariff rates for the full 25 years. Verbal confirmation from the DECC is give to us here at Solar Selections, however written confirmation is being released on the 13th of January, according to our sources. The REAL Assurance Scheme posts an official link here.

Summary:
The final update brings great news, as it means that pending current installations can now go ahead and be assured of the minimum 21p rate. Considering the price reductions we’re seeing across the board, excellent returns have therefore returned to the market for all domestic installations.

The state of affairs continues that if the government loses it’s appeal, the 43.3p rate will come back into play until the DECC can move through the parliamentary process again to change it. If the appeal is successful, then the government will continue to consult on it’s changes to the tariff after April 1st 2012 and the 21p rates will continue until further announcements, or April the 1st.

Written by Jarrah Harburn

jarrah@solarselections.co.uk

T: 020 7205 2267

© 2011 Solar Selections Ltd

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

mike evans January 6, 2012 at 10:45 am

what a shambles.piss up and brewery come to mind !

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Lance Beale January 6, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Some years ago, at the time of John Majors Tory government, my father,in a rare demonstration of his frustration, looked up and said to me”my God my boy!How DO they expect me to remain loyal!! Many years later and now at a similar age to him…I find myself repeating his words!!!!! How dare they! (but they do). Let us give thanks for our independant judicery.Let us watch our leaders waste OUR money trying to save THEIR unsaveable image over a matter entirely created by their own gross incompetence. They will seek to blame greedy speculators or something similar. BUT THEY MADE THE RULES. and now they are seeking to change those rules in a most dishonest and now deemed illegal way.What an example to our young folk. HOW DO they expect us to remain loyal!?

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Lance Beale January 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I don’t feel like moderating anything! Of course the tarrif was set too high, of course it should be ammended to give an inspirational but not excessive return and fields of solar pv panels are a nightmare scenario, but our legislators are PAID to think and planout these matters. My gripe is the manner in which they have chosen to put things right. How can I teach my children to behave honestly in the face of our “leaders” example.

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Lance Beale January 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm

It may need “mediation” but not moderation. please let me know where to follow the debate. Thanks

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admin January 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm

We shall follow the ongoing nature of this development here Lance, please check in regularly to stay updated.
Regards,
Solar Selections

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