UK solar companies seek £50 million in compensation

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Prospect Law has sent a Letter Before Claim to the DECC on behalf of five solar installers, who claim the proposed cuts caused direct damage to their solar installation businesses.

Overall, eight companies, including Solar Power PV Ltd, Crystal Windows and Doors Ltd, Solarlec PV Solutions Ltd and E-tricity, are seeking a total of £50 million in compensation on the back of the U.K. government’s plan to prematurely cut photovoltaic FITs last October.

Prospect Law said it expects more firms to come forward in the next few days, before the October 31 deadline.

Unlawful and unfair

While the U.K. solar industry was victorious in its lawsuit against DECC – the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court ruled this spring that its plans were "unlawful and unfair" – already in January, solar companies had reported that planned projects had been abandoned and thousands of jobs placed under threat.

Simon Gillett, CEO of E-tricity, commented, "Sadly, the damage that the Government’s unlawful conduct caused the Solar PV industry was very serious indeed. The Ministerial Announcement at the end of October 2011 put a great deal of pressure on both the business and its employees, forcing us to make drastic cut-backs and cost reductions wherever possible.

"We are one of the lucky few that have been able to keep our business moving, but the reality is that the way in which DECC attempted to introduce these cuts to FITS rates caused our business and the industry significant damage and loss. By issuing a Letter Before Claim today we are requesting that the government acknowledges the losses it caused, and takes the appropriate action to compensate us."

A spokesperson from Prospect Law added, "By casting aside the rules under which the solar industry operated, the Government caused major financial losses and materially harmed the confidence of both consumers and the industry. Solar is a robust industry, and one the public wants, but significant damage has been done to the sector. By issuing court action these claimant firms are asking the High Court to ensure that the Government is obliged to act responsibly, face up to its unlawful conduct and the damage this caused and is ordered to pay compensation."