Czech Republic ends FIT program, extends solar tax
In a highly anticipated vote, the Czech Parliament’s Upper House on Friday passed a controversial bill for renewable energies that was previously approved by the Parliament’s lower house in August.
The bill now needs to be signed by Czech President Milos Zeman, who has already declared he will approve any decision of the Senate rather than exercising his presidential veto.
The bill ends FIT support for all types of renewable energy starting January 2014, with the exception of wind, hydropower and biomass projects that secured construction permits this year and are completed in 2014. Furthermore, the bill extends the 28% tax currently applied retroactively on solar PV plants larger than 30 kW electrified in 2010. The 28% solar tax was to be in force until the end of this year, however the new bill passed on Friday brings an open-ended 10% tax on these installations.
Czech Photovoltaic Industry Association (CZEPHO) press officer Milos Cihelka told pv magazine that the group “is now looking for legal means to repeal the law.”
When it initially introduced the solar tax in 2010, the government argued that solar panel prices had fallen significantly and the laws did not allow integrating this fall into the purchasing prices for electricity from solar power plants. Thus, the state had argued, the number of new solar PV plants and consequently the subsidies paid to them increased sharply.
Critics say solar plants owners should not pay for the lack of a balanced governmental subsidy plan, and that the bill contradicts existing state laws, hence the legal threats by many players.