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Pre-election Prague says solar power too expensive

01 September 20171056
Solar power photovoltaic creditcentre for alternative technology flickr

The Czech government is considering increasing taxes imposed on producers of solar power because of high expenditures on renewable energy support.

The cabinet asked Finance Minister Ivan Pilný (ANO) last week to follow up on the matter, EurActiv reports.

“It is time to look into the option of solar tax increase, how to make the profits of ‘solar barons‘ more adequate,” said Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek who is the election leader of the Social Democrats (ČSSD) in the October parliamentary elections.

“Such hackneyed phrases about so-called solar barons are nothing but a pure populism. From the politicians’ view, it is timely scheduled before the elections,” the chairman of the board of the Czech Solar Association Jan Fousek told EURACTIV.

In the Czech Republic, renewable energy producers may lose their feed-in tariffs for 2017. EURACTIV.cz reports.

Solar barons

“Solar barons” is a nickname broadly used mostly for operators of large solar power plants in the Czech Republic.

The saying appeared after a solar boom between 2009 and 2010, which occurred because of a steep decline in the price of photovoltaic panels and the inability of lawmakers to adapt feed-in-tariffs for solar power to such development and reduce the support. That resulted into higher priced electricity for consumers.

A 26% solar tax was introduced in 2010 for photovoltaic power systems over 30 kW, which were put into operation between 2009 and 2010. It should have originally expired in 2013, but was prolonged until the end of the power plants’ lifetime and lowered to 10%.

Over the last three years, support for renewable energy through feed-in-tariffs and premium tariffs reached more than €1.5 billion annually. Part of the expenditures are covered by the state budget. Electricity consumers pay for the rest.

The government intended to provide almost €1 billion from the state budget in 2018 for the renewable power and heat support, but has interrupted the debate about this issue last week. The cabinet should get back to the matter on Monday (4 September).

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