More solar companies have announced they are preparing to sue the government over its handling of the solar photovoltaic (PV) Feed-in Tariff (FiT) reduction.

According to electrical training company TradeSkills4U, a total of 17 solar companies are now involved in bringing the legal claim.

They allege that the government acted unlawfully by introducing cuts to the solar FiT before the end of the consultation period designed to seek industry feedback over its proposals to cut the tariff. Reports suggest a total of £140 million in damages is now being sought.

Initially the FiT had been set at 43.3p/kwh for homeowners, with a cut to 21p/kwh set to be introduced in April 2012. However, the government then brought this reduction forward to December 2011, causing uncertainty in the industry.

This early cut to the tariffs was successfully challenged in the High Court, though the government then attempted to appeal against that ruling. According to TradeSkills4U, the solar companies are looking to the lawsuit to cover the business losses incurred as a result of the early tariff cut.

The claim, being led by Prospect Law, saw an initial case for £2.2 million brought by three companies in July 2012. Initially, these companies demanded that the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) agree to pay £2.2 million in damages. In August 2012 DECC responded, refuting all liability and stating it was not responsible for the losses.

The companies bringing the legal claim are Solar Power PV; Solarlec; Crystal Windows and Doors; Breyer Group; Freetricity; E-tricity; Foz Electrical; Green Home; CI Installations; Viscount Solar; Vsolar; House Choice; Evo Energy; Solar Panels Direct; Monitor My Solar; Apollo Energy; and Cleaner Air Solutions.