The government’s cuts to the Feed-in Tariff rates kick-in today as environmental charity Friends of the Earth made a last plea before it starts court proceedings asking the government to reverse their cuts.
Friends of the Earth will accompany solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun in their bid to ask the High Court for permission to challenge the government’s plans to cut the payments.
The European Commission confirmed on Friday to Green MEP Jean Lambert that the UK government could face legal action over plans to reduce Feed-in Tariff rates if it is ‘found to threaten progress towards the UK’s binding EU target on renewable energy’.
Contractors flocked to register new FiT schemes before today’s cut-off date leading to reports that installers trying to log details on the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme website were unable to gain access to the website.
The MCS website contained a note warning people that it was running slowly over the weekend. Renewable energy firms including Good Energy stayed open over the weekend to accommodate the huge number of companies trying to register new schemes under the FiT programme.
Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins said: “These government cuts will cast a huge shadow over our thriving solar industry and pull the plug on thousands of jobs. We don’t oppose modest payment cuts in line with falling installation costs – but the size and speed of these proposals will decimate an industry that could play a key role in weaning the nation off of expensive fossil fuels.
“Ministers must think again and give their support to an industry that could and should be at the cutting edge of a clean energy revolution.”
A report commissioned by Friends of the Earth and Cut Don’t Kill - a solar firm, consumer and environmental group alliance - revealed last month that the cuts could cost up to 29,000 jobs and lose the Treasury up to £230 million a year in tax income.