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Solar firms lose out in high court ruling

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Four UK solar power firms are considering an appeal after losing a High Court battle to stop the government ending Renewables Obligation (RO) solar farm subsidy scheme.

Their claim of ‘an unlawful change of policy’ was thrown out of court following their application for a judicial review after the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) cut short the Renewables Obligation (RO) for large-scale solar farms.

Originally set to run until 2017, the RO is now scheduled to end in 2015, which the solar companies claim will have ‘serious implications for the wider energy industry’, as well as leading to job cuts and multi-million pound losses.

The policy change was put forward in May after the Energy Secretary concluded the scheme had become too expensive. However, the DECC defended their decision, adding; “We welcome today’s judgement. Given the unexpectedly high levels of large-scale solar PV deployment we had to take steps to protect our budget in order to protect consumer bills.”

A spokesperson for the four solar companies involved (Solarcentury, Lark Energy, TCG Renewables and Orta Farms), explained: “In court the judge agreed that DECC’s action had a retrospective impact, but ruled that it was fair for DECC to set a qualification deadline identical to the very first day of the consultation period, causing wasted capex for some developers.

“This ruling may have serious implication for the wider energy industry. We are considering whether to seek leave to appeal and will make a further statement in due course.”

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