A High Court Judge has found in favour of fourteen solar panel companies affected by Government cuts to solar electricity subsidies. The ruling could see the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change shelling out the £130m in compensation that has been requested by the companies. The courts are yet to specify the exact amount each solar panel company will receive, but has said that the amount “will ultimately depend on the facts.” The government is set to appeal the High Court ruling.
The government are outraged by the outcome and believe they have done nothing to warrant having to pay compensation to companies affected by the changes to subsidies. A spokesperson for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said, “We are unhappy about this judgement and will be appealing against it.”
The DECC went on to say, “We believed we were proposing lawful changes to subsidies, which would protect consumers from rising bills at a time when windfall profits meant the industry was booming. Solar is a huge success in the UK, worth £2.2bn a year, thanks to government support, and the tariff changes that protected consumers from a £50-a-year bill rise by 2020 haven’t changed that success.”
The Solar Panel companies, and Friends of the Earth (FoE) launched a legal campaign after the subsidies were cut, and both FoE and the solar panel companies insist that jobs have been jeopardised due to radical changes in subsidies. The environmental campaigners, Friends of the Earth are appalled by the government’s handling of the budgets and says millions have been wasted by the government in court. Andrew Pendleton, who is head of campaigns at FoE said, “This money would have been better spent encouraging homes and businesses to develop their own clean energy and help wean Britain off dirty fossil fuels.”
The Growth of Solar Energy
According to research, solar energy is a growing source throughout the UK and will continue to grow despite the planned subsidy cuts. Since August 2011, 20 fields of solar panels have been Solar Panel Company introduce to the UK and 40 are currently under construction or are being planned. In attempt to placate the locals that oppose solar panel fields, companies are allowing sheep to graze on some of their sites and will also introduce wild flowers in a bid to increase and sustain the British bee population.
Opposition from Residents
Some residents living close to solar panel fields oppose plans for the introduction of more, with many claiming they will have an impact on their business. Griff Griffiths of Glamorgan fears he will be forced to close his hawking centre once a solar panel farm is built next door to his centre as he believes it will become too dangerous for his birds to fly.
Mr Griffiths proposes solar energy companies should be using the rooftops of disused buildings rather than open land. Speaking to the BBC, Mr Griffiths said, “I know I’m a ‘nimby’, but why [develop] on good agricultural land here when we only have to go to Barry Docks [to find] a brownfield site – big acres of it – with nothing on it?”