Greek PV Association to oppose government levy on parks



09. January 2013 | Markets & Trends, Global PV markets | By:  Ilias Tsagas

The Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers (SPEF) has filed a formal complaint at the European Commission with regards to the special levy the Greek Government has imposed on photovoltaic parks.

A Greek PV park.

Rooftop and ground mounted photovoltaic installations have driven Greece's renewable energy capacity past 3 GW.

According to the SPEF press release published on January 7, the association filed two separate complains at the EU Energy and Competition Directories respectively.

Based on a Greek law, passed in November 2012 by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, all solar energy producers operators, need to pay a special levy leveling 25 to 30% of their annual turnover. Residential systems are excluded, however. The SPEF claims it has a complete set of legal, environmental, technical and economical arguments to support its complaints. 



The SPEF argues the levy, which has been introduced without any previous consultation with the market actors, is imposed on installations that are completed and connected to the grid before the levy's introduction. This cancels the previous financial arrangements made by the photovoltaic parks' owners.

The association says the recent levy is against European FIT standards that the Greek Government had previously endorsed through three different laws in 2006, 2009 and 2010 respectively. It also says solar park owners in Greece decided to invest based on these three previous laws that encouraged them to sign contracts with the state agencies for 20 years.

The SPEF further argues that the levy is not going to help the Greek fund for renewable energy projects reduce the serious cash deficit it faces. The deficit, SPEF claims, is the result of long-term distortions and miscalculations on the Greek wholesale electricity market, like the Cost Recovery Mechanism, which SPEF says benefits natural gas plants over photovoltaic parks. 



Thus, SPEF concludes, the imposed levy distorts fair competition in the energy market and rather takes the form of an indirect state subsidy in favor of specific energy investments.

The association has also taken its complaints to the Greek courts. 



Photovoltaic installations drive RES capacity 

Despite the levy gloom, recent statistics published today by LAGIE, the Greek operator of the electricity market, show that new photovoltaic installations have helped the country to break the 3 GW limit of installed renewable energy capacity.

Recent figures show that in November 2012 there were 39.33 MW of new photovoltaic parks installed (each over 10 KW), as well as 20.83 MW of new rooftop installations (each below 10 kW), leading the total Greek grid connected installed renewable energy capacity up to 3047.29 MW.


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