Czech lower house votes through end to FiT payments

The lower house of the Czech parliament has passed a bill to end FiT payments for solar PV from January and extend a tax on solar plants which will have to pay a 10% levy in future.

The Czech Photovoltaic Industry Association (CZEPHO) has threatened legal action with the law already in doubt because the lower house was dissolved on August 20 after three months of deadlock following a corruption scandal which brought down prime minister Petr Necas’ government in June.

With fresh elections for the lower house expected in October, any rejection of the bill or amendment by the Czech upper house – the Senate – could postpone implementation.

CZEPHO press officer Miloš Cihelka told pv magazine: "The lower house vote is still valid," adding: "the Senate should vote on the law at its next sitting, which begins on September 12."

Cihelka said Czech President Miloš Zeman has already declared he will rubber stamp any decision of the Senate rather than exercising his presidential veto.

The bill would be applicable to most renewables and Cihelka told pv magazine if the bill becomes law "ending FiT support will apply to all renewable energies except hydro power plants already under construction."

What is more, Cihelka added, the bill contains a provision to extend the 28% tax currently applied retroactively on solar PV installations built from 2010 to the end of this year, proposing an open-ended 10% tax on future solar installations.

Cihelka confirmed CZEPHO had asked for 300 kW and smaller plants to be exempted but members of the parliament rejected the proposal.

"Solar tax hits hard, especially on smaller installations, up to 30% of which are threatened with bankruptcy," added Cihelka. "We wanted to protect at least part of the sector against bad laws."

The bill does not provide incentives for residential solar, according to Cihelka.

Should the bill be passed by the Senate, Cihelka added, "CZEPHO will use all legal options to force the solar tax to be abolished. Our lawyers are considering specific options."