The recently announced cuts to solar panel feed in tariffs may now not come into force until April 1st 2012 – after a High Court ruling declared the initial cut-off date ‘unlawful’.
The Government had initially proposed to reduce the rate of feed in tariffs from the 12th December 2011, with all subsequent solar installations earning the homeowner just 50% of the original tariff.
However, in the most recent report on renewable energy submitted by Government to the European Commission, the cut off point for the higher rates appears to have been set at 1st April.
That gives homeowners almost four months to take advantage of the higher feed in tariffs – and you’d be an April Fool to miss out. Certainly if you’ve been considering the switch to solar energy, this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
If confirmed, the extended deadline would be a victory for campaigners who have argued against the Government’s hurriedly enforced date. Many have suggested that the 12th December 2011 cut off simply didn’t give enough notice – coming as it did just six weeks after the start of the consultation at the end of October.
After all, for some people in the process of building an energy efficient home, it could be a year or more before their already-ordered solar panels are ready to install. Those solar panels would have been ordered and paid for on the basis of the existing, higher rate of feed in tariff – and the December cut-off date would be impossible to meet.
To such people, the wording of the Government’s latest report will be music to the ears. It states clearly that following the consultation which ended on the 23rd December 2011, the changes to the feed in tariff are “proposed to be implemented from the 1st April 2012”.
However, a proposal is just that – a proposal – and the extended deadline is by no means set in stone. The Department for Energy and Climate Change sought to address that very point in a subsequently released statement, which said “no decisions have yet been taken on the outcome of the consultation, including the proposal for new tariffs to be implemented from 1 April 2012”
The Department for Energy and Climate Change is expected to publish its response to the FIT consultation shortly, which should once and for all clarify what has become an unnecessarily confusing matter.
We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments in the story right here on solarpanels.co.uk.