Solar firms defeat DECC in £132m damages claim

The High Court has ruled in favour of 14 solar energy firms in a £132 million damages claim against the Government. The companies were pursuing damages following the Department of […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The High Court has ruled in favour of 14 solar energy firms in a £132 million damages claim against the Government.

The companies were pursuing damages following the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) cuts to the Feed-in Tariff scheme in 2011.

The government gave the industry six weeks’ notice that financial incentives for generating solar electricity were to be halved in December that year.

The deadline came several weeks before the end of a government consultation following which an initial legal challenge was launched. The court ruled the changes were unlawful which prompted a second round of legal action from a group of solar companies that decided to seek up to £132 million in damages from DECC.

The judge however ruled the amount of compensation “will ultimately depend on the facts”.

DECC said it will appeal against the ruling.

A spokesperson added: “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 £2.2 billion 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.”