GERMANY LOOKS TO TAX SELF-CONSUMPTION OF SOLAR ENERGY
In an effort to contain rising power bills, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet supported plans to tax owners of renewable energy plants for use of their own electricity. The proposal would require clean energy plants to pay 70% of the EEG-Umlage, a fee paid by power consumers that renewable energy producers are exempt from at present. Germany’s Federal Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) strongly criticized the proposed plan, saying it would be akin to “having a gardener pay a tax on the vegetables he grew himself in order to subsidize farmers.” The Association argued that the tax would make the generation of environmentally friendly energy unattractive, hindering the country’s transition to renewable forms of energy and punishing those with a demonstrated environmental commitment. Currently, only Arizona has taxed the self-consumption of solar energy, though other U.S. states and Spain are considering similar plans. The proposed measure seeks to curb energy bills in a country where households pay more for their electricity than in any other EU nation except Denmark. For the full story, see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-24/germany-tax-on-own-use-of-renewables-is-first-in-europe.html. For more on BSW-Solar’s opposition, see http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/german-solar-group-blasts-government-plans-to-tax-self-consumption_100014022/#axzz2rKY9lsQI.