Photovoltaic Industry threatens with legal action against retroactive taxes on PV investments

December 18, 2012 // By Julien Happich
More than 70 companies and associations in the solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity sector have co-signed a letter to European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, calling on the EU to take action against Member States that are enacting retroactive measures or moratoria on support schemes for renewables.

The letter, sent by the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), makes reference to recent or imminent action in several countries - including Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Greece.

"Such measures seriously damage the investment climate in general and for renewables in particular, not only in the countries where they occur, but also throughout Europe," the letter states. "We therefore call on you to react strongly to these decisions and use, where appropriate, all the legal means the European Commission has to stop this trend, which threatens the climate of confidence needed in Europe to attract further investors."

The signatories also point out that these actions can "heighten the perceived risk in investments in renewables, and PV in particular, thus unnecessarily increasing the cost of capital for private operators. In the transition to a power sector that will require more CAPEX-intensive investments, retroactive measures will seriously endanger the achievement of 2020 targets."

Among the recent measures:

Czech Republic, end 2010, adoption of a 26% or 28% retroactive tax on PV investments realised between 2009 and 2010

Spain, end 2010, adoption of a retroactive measure on all existing PV investments

Bulgaria, September 2012, adoption of a discriminatory, abusive and retroactive grid access fee for systems commissioned since April 2010

Greece, November 2012, adoption of an up to 30% tax on revenues of PV systems already installed or to be installed in the future

Belgium (Flanders), December 2012, adoption of a retroactive grid access tariff for the use of the grid for PV systems benefiting from net-metering (<10 kVA)

Measures being considered:

Czech Republic, prolongation and increase in the tax on the PV investments

Spain, proposed 7% tax on revenues for electricity producers, discriminating against renewable energy producers and in favour of conventional players

France, proposed retroactive measure on the tariff level for large scale systems

To read the Open Letter to Commissioner Oettinger, click here.