PV Legal: Positive PV progress made in legal and administrative barriers

The aim of the project, funded by the European Commission’s Intelligent Energy for Europe program, was to create a smooth path for the development of photovoltaics in Europe through the removal of bureaucratic barriers.

Overall, the consortium states that positive progress has been made. However, there are some countries, where the barriers to photovoltaic development have become more difficult.

For example, it says that in both Spain and the Czech Republic, "procedures have become considerably more onerous, to the extent that it is now sometimes impossible to get a grid connection permit for projects, seriously hindering market development".

It adds that in some cases, these hurdles have been "deliberately" introduced to either slow the market down or stop the development of photovoltaics altogether. ?

In terms of deliberate hindrance, the Czech Republic seems to have suffered the most, with its country’s government having introduced a 26 percent retroactive solar tax. While this has seriously impacted the market, there is light at the end of the tunnel, with recent announcements stating that after a group of 22 Czech Senators filed a complaint to the country’s Supreme Court, it seems likely that the legislation will be rejected.

Spain is meanwhile suffering its own set of problems after its national energy commission, CNE suspended solar subsidies for 350 installations at the end of March, after finding that they were not generating electricity when they claimed to be. It was announced, however, that the Spanish Ministry for Industry has said that photovoltaic projects worth 116 megawatts will receive the feed-in tariff in the first quarter of this year.

Positive progress

On a more positive note, PV Legal said that in Greece, for example, procedures for residential systems were simplified last summer when a one-stop-shop was set up, which reduced the procedure to just a single step. Furthermore, systems on autonomous islands are now allowed.

The consortium went on to say that the procedure to install systems on historical buildings has also been simplified.

Meanwhile, following changes implemented in September 2010, photovoltaic installations less than one megawatt in size no longer require a building permit in Slovenia.

To round off its study, PV Legal has published an update of its resource database. As such, information regarding administrative and bureaucratic measures for 12 countries – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom – is available.

It has also made a series of recommendations for each of the 12 markets as to how they could improve their legal-administrative framework. "If these recommendations were implemented," says a statement released, "unnecessary bureaucracy could be removed, enabling reductions in the cost of national support schemes and facilitating quicker deployment of PV."

The PV Legal project gathered together a group of 13 national photovoltaic industry associations with the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and the Management Consultants eclareon.

They included: BSW-Solar, German Solar Industry Association (Coordinator), ASIF, Spanish Photovoltaic Industry Association, Assosolare, Italian Photovoltaic Industry Association, ENERPLAN, French Solar professional association, HELAPCO, Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, PTPV, Polish Society for Photovoltaics, MPC, Micropower Council, United Kingdom , SER, French Renewable Energy Industry Association, ZSFI, Slovenian Photovoltaic Industry Association, EPIA, European Photovoltaic Industry Association, eclareon Management Consultants.