Greek solar company suffers fresh EU court reversal


The European Court of Justice has dismissed an appeal by a renewables developer against an earlier decision related to feed-in tariff (FIT) cuts by the Greek government, and ordered the clean power company to pay costs in a case dating back to May 2015.

From the end of 2014, when the Greek government introduced a law reducing solar FIT payments and clawing back “overpayments” made during 2013, Athens-based Solar Ileias Bompaina AE argued that the electricity supply companies it sold its clean power to should also have been required to help the effort to pay down the deficit of the national fund used to pay renewables FITs.

In May 2015, the developer argued that Greek electricity suppliers – companies that buy power from generators and sell it on to energy consumers at market rates – had effectively received illegal state aid by virtue of being exempted from the requirement to return some of the revenue they had banked in 2013, when the FIT rates received by clean power generators had ensured a high price for their energy.

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The European Commission said, in December 2018, that the solar developer had failed to prove electricity suppliers had contributed to the deficit on the national FIT payment fund. It also said that electricity generators and suppliers were not in a comparable situation, and that the rebate of FIT payments required from clean power producers did not constitute state aid for electricity suppliers.

When Solar Ileias sought to annul those findings, in March 2019, it was not permitted to do so, as it had not provided sufficient evidence of the effect on its business to be classed as an “interested party.” The developer appealed its lack of interested party status in September 2020 and the court announced in April that the appeal has been rejected and Solar Ileias must pay the legal costs of both parties.

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