Leicester solar panel project stuck in limbo

A solar panel project in Leicester is stuck in limbo as it waits for a final decision on the government’s Feed-in tariff scheme. 1,000 council houses in the city were expected to be fitted with solar panels before April. This would reduce electricity bills and cut carbon emissions released into the atmosphere.

However, last year the government announced plans to reduce solar PV’s Feed-in tariff (FiT) rate from 43.3p/kWh to just 21p before the April deadline. The FiT scheme pays homes and businesses for every unit of electricity generated with renewable energy products.

Because of the reduction, Leicester Council planned to only install 550 of the 1,000 solar panel systems. But after a High Court ruling stating the government’s cuts were “unlawful”, the full project could be back on the cards.

Friends of the Earth led a legal campaign against the government changes, which was followed by several solar companies. Despite losing the battle, the Department of Energy and Climate Change will appeal against the High Court’s decision.

And if this appeal is unsuccessful, the Leicester solar panel project and many other similar schemes will rush to complete the installation before the April 1 cut-off date.

Friends of the Earth spokesman, Malcolm Hunter, said: “If we do not provide the support needed to help renewables take off, we will have no chance of reducing CO2 emissions enough to prevent dangerous climate change. We will also be unable to stop electricity prices continuing to rise.”

The British Government remain committed to generating 15% of power through renewables by 2020. This is with the aid of solar panels, heat pumps, wind turbines and hydroelectricity systems. All of these can be installed domestically and commercially, with different size systems available.

With the Feed-in tariff, free electricity and reduced carbon dioxide emissions, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t look into renewable energy as a viable alternative to coal, gas and oil.


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