The Department of Energy & Climate Change has today put modifications to the Feed-in Tariff scheme before Parliament.
The modifications are subject to the Parliamentary process set out in the Energy Act 2008.
If passed, the modifications would apply if the government loses its current legal appeal against the recent High Court ruling on its original aim for the reduced rate to apply to all installations since December 2011.
Energy & Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: "I know this is a difficult time for the sector and I want to do as much as I can to end the current uncertainty created by the legal challenge.
“We must reduce the level of FITs for solar panels as quickly as possible, to protect consumer bills and to avoid bust in the whole Feed-in Tariffs budget. We’re appealing against the court ruling that’s challenged our proposal for a December reference date.
"This remains our aim, and we are waiting for the judgment of the Court of Appeal. But this is too important for us to sit and do nothing while we wait. Today we’re putting in place a contingency that will bring a 21p rate into effect from April for installations from 3 March.
“However, we are still pressing ahead with our appeal and if successful, we retain the option of introducing a December reference date. In the circumstances we believe this gives the industry as much certainty as is possible. And it puts us in a better position to protect the budget for everyone involved.”
Further information on the government’s response to this aspect of the FiTs consultation, together with a summary of the relevant consultation responses, is being published today on DECC's website.
The consultation closed on 23 December 2011 and DECC said over 2,000 consultation responses were received.
The department aims to announce the outcome of the consultation by 9 February 2012, in time for any resulting legislative changes to come into effect from 1 April 2012. DECC said: "Our aim is that this announcement will be accompanied by a set of reform proposals for the next phase of the comprehensive review of the FiTs scheme, which will be the subject of a further consultation."