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solar energy pannelsThis summer, the Government decided to reduce the level of feed-in tariffs - payments - to households for energy generated from renewable energy like solar panels.  Ministers announced that they were more than halving the feed-in tariff, from 43.3p to 21p per kilowatt hour for systems installed after 01 April 2012. Households that registered after December 12 will also get a reduced tariff.

The sudden move caused outcry in the industry. Court cases are being brought by solar companies who have invested money based on the original tariff but do not have time to install panels before the deadline and will now get half the return.

The Court of Appeal case involved the government's move to halve the payments made to households with solar panels, which it says are unsustainable. However, the government has said it will seek leave to take the case to the UK's Supreme Court.

Under the feed-in tariffs programme, people in Britain with solar panels are paid for the electricity they generate.  The rulings will not affect households that have installed panels before the changes on 12 December.

Solar businesses and campaigners had warned thousands of jobs could be lost as a result of the proposed tariff cut. "We want to maximise the number of installations that are possible within the available budget rather than use available money to pay a higher tariff to halve the number of installations," said Energy and Climate Change secretary Chris Huhne.

Employers' group the CBI said the government should abandon its legal battle. "The judgement should be used to draw a line under this saga, which saw the government scoring a spectacular own goal and confidence in the renewables sector undermined," said director general John Cridland.

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