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DECC announces review of disastrous handling of solar FiT cuts

8th February 2012
Energy Ministers have ordered an internal review of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) fiasco in an attempt to learn "lessons for the future".
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has been widely criticised for its handling of the solar PV FiT consultation, which was later ruled unlawful by a High Court judge.

Industry leaders, select committee reports and even the CBI supported the view the cuts were too hurried and would wreck the UK's developing solar industry.

In a written answer to Parliament, Energy Minister Greg Barker confirmed an inquiry has now been launched.

His letter to Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint, added: "The Department has already commissioned a review of lessons for the future."

It is understood the inquiry was launched before new Energy Secretary Ed Davey took over from Chris Huhne last Friday.

And news of the review comes before DECC reveals tomorrow changes to the Feed-in Tariff scheme to provide more transparency and consistency in the market.

Jeremy Leggett, chairman of Solarcentury, said: "Of course DECC should launch an internal investigation into the Feed-in tariff shambles but they shouldn't have put the sector in this position in the first place.

"Two select committees and four judges have found the process shambolic and illegal, and it left a whole industry in shock. If we are to progress with clean tech investment in the UK Ed Davey MP should be sure his house is in order and he should welcome, not hinder, green investment still willing to look at the UK.

"We call for solar, in particular, not to be hindered by proposals to link FiTs to energy performance – lets get on with green job creation now."

And David Hunt, director at Eco Environment, added: "We are pleasantly surprised but very pleased that DECC have been upfront in wanting to learn from the way the Feed-in Tariff situation has been handled, a process that can at best be described as a débâcle, and factually, at the moment at least, illegal.

"All too often the overwhelming feeling given by Government reviews and investigations is one of 'whitewash'; we hope that Ed Davey and Greg Barker only proceed with a review if they genuinely want to learn from the feedback they receive.

"The industry and DECC do need to move forward constructively, and there are things we could all learn from an inquiry, the solar industry included."

A DECC spokesperson refused to provide further details of the Energy Minister's review announcement.

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