The Government will clash with green energy companies at the Court of Appeal tomorrow about claims it acted unlawfully over the sudden, “cynical” ending of solar subsidies in 2014.The London-based Solarcentury and Lark Energy, in the East Midlands, are furious that the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) withdrew the solar renewables obligation (RO) two years early. The RO supported the construction of large-scale wind farms. The two companies are now appealing, having lost a court case in conjunction with two other energy businesses, Orta Solar Farms and TGC Renewables, in late 2014. Around 6,500 jobs in the solar industry were lost between the summer and Christmas last year, fuelling criticism that the Government is not living up to its clean energy responsibilities. The Government launched its plans to end RO for big projects with a consultation in May 2014. When the closure of the scheme was later confirmed, it was decided that solar companies which had not met certain criteria by the time the consultation started – such as having planning permission – would not qualify for the remaining subsidy, even though this was to run until April 2015. The claimants allege this lack of grace period for firms that had spent money and built business plans based on the subsidy was retrospective and unfair. These businesses, they argue, were not given sufficient warning to get their paperwork in order so they could still qualify.
Independent 1st Feb 2016 read more »