April 30, 2014

BSW-Solar to Challenge Proposed Solar PV Self-Consumption Charge in Court

Germany's Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) has announced that it will challenge government plans to impose the surcharge according to the renewable energy act (EEG) on solar photovoltaic (PV) systems which supply electricity directly to their owners in the nation's Constitutional Court.

The German Federal Cabinet approved changes to the the renewable energy act including applying a portion of the surcharge on green electricity to solar power self-consumption systems, on April 8th, 2014. The bill still must go to the German Parliament (Bundestag) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat).

"Large parts of the industry will continue to be exempt from financing the Energy Transition, while those who protect the environment with solar power are asked to pay,” states BSW-Solar CEO Carsten K├Ârnig. “With the constitutional challenge, we want to establish the cause of justice in the financing of the Energy Transition again.” 

“Solar generation makes an important contribution to the implementation of a decentralized Energy Transition based on broad citizen participation. Those who impede this sector with absurd charges endanger the entire Energy Transition. We must not allow climate protection and citizen engagement to be punished.”

BSW-Solar has retained a law firm which finds that the planned “tax” on self-consumption violates at least two components of the Basic Law. The German Federation of Consumer Associations also (VZBV) plans to join BSW-Solar in this legal challenge.

Surcharge on self-consumption to begin August 1st

Under the bill approved by the Federal cabinet, self-consumption PV systems will be charged 50% of the green electricity surcharge beginning on August 1st, 2014. Tenants who purchase electricity from PV systems supplied by their landlords will pay 100% of the surcharge, which is currently EUR 0.0624 (USD 0.087) per kWh.

PV plants smaller than 10 kW will remain exempt from the charge, however these represented only 20% of the PV market in 2013. Energy-intensive industries which produce their own electricity will pay only 15% of the surcharge, even if they generate electricity from fossil fuels.


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