Bulgaria has become the latest European country to impose a charge on revenue from solar and wind energy projects.
Since introducing a feed-in tariff for renewables in 2011, Bulgaria’s PV and wind industries have mushroomed, with installed PV capacity now standing at around 1GW.
But the country has also seen rising energy prices become an increasingly political issue, sparking public protest earlier in the year. Proposals for the 20% charge were inserted into amendments to Bulgaria’s 2014 budget act last week as a means of bringing energy bills under control.
Voting on the budget today, Bulgaria’s parliament endorsed the measure, with 116 of its 182 members backing the charge, according to local news agencies.
A further measure approved by parliament will place a restriction on the number of operational hours for which renewable energy plant can receive tariff payments.
The Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association (BPVA) warned when the measure was proposed last week that it would effectively kill off any investor interest in renewable energy in the Balkan country.
The organisation reiterated this today, claiming that the combination of measures passed by parliament could amount to a 43% hit on solar producers’ revenues.
Speaking to PV Tech, the BPVA’s deputy chairman, Ivo Ivanov, cited one of the assocation’s members, who had calculated that he would lose up to 90% of the revenue from his small PV plant. “This is a crazy measure,” said Ivanov.
The BPVA claims the measure is unconstitutional and is appealing to the Bulgarian President and national ombudsman to take the matter to the country’s Constitutional Court
The BPVA is unable to appeal directly to the court, but said the matter needed to be addressed in “the interests of Bulgarian citizens whose private property was nationalised by the law adopted by the parliament”.
The BPVA has also raised the issue with the European Commission, Ivanov said.