Solar companies seek compensation over FiT cuts

Three solar photovoltaic (PV) installation companies are claiming £2.2m in compensation from DECC for losses incurred on the back of the "unlawful cuts" to Feed-in tariffs (FiTs) last year.

Prospect Law, the legal team that defeated the Government over the cuts, has issued DECC with a ‘letter before claim’ on behalf of the three companies, only one of which, Solarlec PV Solutions, has so far been named.

The move could open the floodgates to further claims. It is also likely to divide the solar industry with some keen to move on from the chaos, while others are desperate to draw a line under events and move on.

Solarlec founding director Nick Keighley told edie: “We can’t second-guess how DECC will respond after the last eight months [but] we think we have a strong legal case.”

Asked whether it could open the floodgates to other claims, he said: “If it sets a precedent, it could well do.”

The trouble began when the Government decided to cut solar incentives before the completion of a consultation. That decision was ruled “unlawful” by the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in March this year.

The three organisations argue that by casting aside the rules and ignoring its own policy framework, the Government “caused major financial losses and materially harmed the confidence of both consumers and the industry”.

Keighley said his company had “fought hard” to keep the business going during the FiTs saga. In a statement he told of the “incredibly tough eight months, making redundancies and cutting costs wherever possible”. He added: “We are keeping our business moving, but the reality is that we suffered substantial damage.”

Commenting on the landmark case, a spokesperson from Prospect Law said: “Solar is a robust industry, and one the public wants, but significant damage has been done to the sector. We urge the Government to act responsibly, face up to its unlawful conduct and the damage this caused and to offer compensation.”

DECC confirmed it had received a ‘letter before action’ and was “considering the content”. The Department has two weeks to respond to the claims.

Keighley said the companies have “a strong legal case” and is hopeful the compensation will be paid. “This would draw a line under the last eight months and allow us to move forward with confidence,” he added.

edie staff

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