Solar Panels FIT verdict creates widespread industry confusion
DECC have announced their plans to appeal to the Supreme Court, after the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s ruling that FIT rate cuts were unlawful, creating more uncertainty for the solar industry.
The outcome of the appeal, which was expected to provide clarification on the Feed-in Tariff rate, has split an industry uncertain over whether the rate should be 43.3p or 21p, for solar systems up to 4kWp.
The first reports to appear online from leading industry news sites and respected financial sites publicised that the FIT rate had returned to 43.3p. This has now proved to be incorrect and a misinterpretation of the Court of Appeal verdict.
One of the first reports to appear online on an industry news site reported that DECC had lost their appeal and the FIT rate would be 43.3p until April 2012. The article also explained that DECC had been refused an appeal to the Supreme Court, although this was later removed from the article.
Shortly afterwards, another industry news site echoed this stance that the FIT rate would return to 43.3p. However, the same article highlighted that it was unclear whether DECC would appeal to the Supreme Court which would have a bearing on the FIT rate.
It appears as though these sites, keen to get the news online first, jumped the gun slightly. It wasn’t until the afternoon, when the full facts had been considered, that the reports were amended or correct reports were later added to the sites.
However, by this point the news had began to spread in the solar industry with installers and third party agencies beginning to promote the FIT rate return to 43.3p.
Panic had set in; suppliers warned of selling out of stock, and one, in response to the FIT rate supposedly returning to 43.3p, intimated that solar panel prices would rise.
It was revealed later in the afternoon that DECC planned to appeal to the Supreme Court, which meant that there was a chance the FIT rate could remain at 21p and further industry uncertainty ensued.
Industry specialists EnergyLink have sought to clarify the FIT rate and have received confirmation from the Energy Saving Trust and DECC that it is currently 21p unless confirmed otherwise. This may rise to 43.3p if the Government lose their Supreme Court appeal, which is still to be heard.
EnergyLink have also contacted the main energy suppliers. Two have confirmed that they will be paying 21p per kWh unless they hear otherwise from DECC; three were uncertain. Crucially, none confirmed that they would pay 43.3p until official confirmation was given by the Government. However, should the FIT rate go up to 43.3p the payments would be backdated to the installation date.
EnergyLink’s stance is no different to how it was before yesterday’s hearing. The Feed-in Tariff rate is at least 21p for installations completed before April 2012, but could return to 43.3p if DECC are refused, or are granted and lose, their Supreme Court appeal. If the energy suppliers – who pay the Feed-in Tariff – aren’t guaranteeing a return to the 43.3p FIT rate until officially confirmed, neither can we.
For consumers, it is a double win situation and a viable time to invest in solar panels. Install now and receive a guaranteed FIT rate of 21p - giving an estimated return on investment between 7.3% and 9.3% - with the added bonus of the FIT rate potentially increasing to 43.3p.
EnergyLink can arrange for customers to receive three free no-obligation surveys from MCS accredited solar installers. Visit Home Solar Panels for more information.
# # #
EnergyLink Ltd. put customers in touch with approved installers of energy efficient products such as Loft & Cavity Wall Insulation and Solar Energy. We also offer a range of energy-saving extras such as Double Glazing quotes
Page Updated Last on: Jan 26, 2012