Taxpayers face a £60 million compensation bill after the government agreed to settle claims from solar companies that lost out when it slashed subsidies in 2011. The Department of Energy and Climate Change announced in October 2011 that it would halve the level of subsidies for rooftop solar panels sooner than had been promised after an unexpectedly high take-up. The decision was later ruled unlawful after a judicial review and the cut delayed but the botched change nevertheless resulted in many solar companies losing business or collapsing. The government has now confirmed that it has paid almost £60 million to settle claims from companies that lost out. The government started offering subsidies for solar panels in 2010 to help meet renewable energy targets. Panels were initially very expensive and subsidies of as much as 43p per kilowatt hour were offered through the feed-in tariff scheme, which is funded through levies on household energy bills. Rapid cost reductions soon made the panels more attractive and take-up surged well beyond expectations. Ministers said they needed to cut the subsidies to protect energy customers from the rapidly rising costs of the scheme. Solar companies sought compensation from the government under the Human Rights Act and won initial hearings on preliminary issues of law.
Times 29th March 2018 read more »