Monday, 19 December 2011

Solar investment bank delayed by tariff legal battle

Not a Bank, the new Cambridge UK investment vehicle based on solar energy, has been forced to delay launch until 2012 because of a legal wrangle over government feed-in tariffs.

Cambridge entrepreneur Peter Dawe, tells Business Weekly that the Government’s decision to cut the tariffs prompted the postponement.

He said: “The change concerning feed-in Tariffs meant we had to restructure our offering. We are now looking at a January launch.”
He hasn’t detailed the nature of the restructuring.

The situation has now taken a further twist after a judge ordered an urgent hearing of a High Court challenge to the Government’s plans.

Friends of the Earth and two solar companies - Solarcentury and HomeSun - were given permission to seek a ruling that the proposals were unlawful.

The Government tariff cut meant that the amount paid for solar panel generated electricity was reduced from 43.3p per kWh to 21p – slashing the average revenue that could be earned by households from £1,100 to £500.

Following a launch in Cambridge in September, Dawe had hoped to announce an interest rate for Not A Bank at the start of November.

The intention is for his new Cambridge Provident Society to use investors’ cash initially for solar power projects that carry a payback for the investors themselves and the communities they support.

A typical project would see the society instal solar panels on the roof of a school or other community building and sell surplus energy to the power brokers.

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