Austria follows German lead on solar self-consumption fee


The Ministry of Finance in Austria has voted to introduce a grid fee for mid-size PV systems installed for self-consumption, similar to the proposed changes outlined in Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG).

A levy of 1.5 euro cent per kWh will be charged to any PV system installed from March 1, 2014 that generates more than 5,000 kWh of solar power per year.

The move has been met with strong criticism from the Photovoltaic Austria Federal Association, which claims that a grid free will hit the country’s commercial PV sector, particularly the nation’s SME businesses.

Local press is reporting that the Association is planning to begin a petition calling on the Ministry of Finance to scrap this new measure, pointing to the impressive strides Austria’s PV sector has taken on the back of the country’s FIT scheme and other incentive programs.

The decision to impose a grid fee echoes Germany’s recent energy reform proposals, which plans to ask operators of new PV systems that generate more than 10 kWp to pay a fee of approximately €0.044 per kWh of self-consumed solar energy.

This new surcharge, expected to be formally introduced in August, has attracted fierce criticism in Germany, with solar supporters claiming that it is "inconceivable" that solar self-consumers should be financially penalized for their environmental commitment.