Solar power companies in the UK are seeking $222m in damages from the government, claiming that cuts to subsidies in 2011 were legally flawed.

The 17 companies said the way in which the changes to the feed-in tariff were handled was disastrous for their businesses, because it led to a sudden and dramatic fall in the number of people installing solar panels, and companies had to lay off thousands of workers.
Solar panels
Many in the industry accepted that the tariff should have been cut, but were angered by the government’s failure to give enough notice.

However the industry has so far successfully argued through the British court system that the government was wrong to announce a cut in the feed in tariff, before being granted legal clearance.

The Guardian reports that the cuts, and the impression they gave of a policy that could change at very little notice, put off potential customers.

As the feed-in tariff regime has now been amended and the government promises it will remain stable, the number of installations is rising again, but solar companies say they suffered a year of damaging uncertainty that hurt sales and led to an estimated 6,000 job losses in what had been a bright and growing niche sector of the economy.

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