MP vows to fight High Court solar power ruling

BATTLE MP and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker says he plans to appeal a High Court ruling that government plans to cut subsidies for domestic solar panels are legally flawed.

Friends of the Earth and two solar companies took the government to court on December 21.

The government has said it will defend a challenge at judicial review.

People who have installed solar panels are paid for the electricity they generate under the feed-in tariffs programme.

The current rate is 43p per kilowatt-hour, but the government proposed a new rate of 21p per kilowatt-hour.

This new rate was expected to come into force on April 1, but in October the government said the new rate would be paid to people who had installed solar panels from December 12.

Friends of the Earth, along with Solarcentury and HomeSun argued the cut off point was unlawful and the High Court found in their favour.

Mr Barker said: “We disagree with the court’s decision.

“We will be seeking an appeal and hope to secure a hearing as soon as possible.

“Regardless of the outcome, the current high tariffs for solar PV are not sustainable and changes need to be made in order to protect the budget which is funded by consumers through their energy bills.”

Political opponents accused Mr Barker of failing to support the solar panel industry and say the plans put thousands of jobs at risk.

Helena Dollimore, spokesperson for the Bexhill and Battle Labour Party, said: “The Climate Change Minister appears to be failing to grasp the full economic picture.

“By more than halving the tariff, he is devastating the nascent solar panel industry that Britain should be supporting.

“Whilst our international competitors support key industries, the Conservative-led Government appears to be failing to grasp obvious opportunities.

“The government’s proposal will threaten 25,000 jobs in British manufacturing. “It seems irrational to cause massive redundancies amongst skilled workers, reducing the revenue generated by the solar panel industry.”