The European Photovoltaic Association (EPIA) has asked the European Union to take action against member states curtailing support to the renewables industry.
More than 70 companies and associations in the solar PV electricity sector have co-signed a letter to European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, calling on the EU to take action against member states that are enacting retroactive measures or moratoria on support schemes for renewables.
The letter, sent by EPIA, makes reference to recent or imminent action in several countries – including Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Greece.
“Such measures seriously damage the investment climate in general and for renewables in particular, not only in the countries where they occur, but also throughout Europe,” the letter states. “We therefore call on you to react strongly to these decisions and use, where appropriate, all the legal means the European Commission has to stop this trend, which threatens the climate of confidence needed in Europe to attract further investors.”
In March, EPIA demanded the EU develops a competitive and specific policy for PV in Europe, in order to maintain jobs, investment, deployment of facilities and materials already in the industry and to help it expand.
The signatories of this latest letter said that the actions of some member states could lead to a “bad feeling about the reliability of European political decisions happening in various member states”.
“This lack of confidence in the support measures heightens the perceived risk in investments in renewables, and PV in particular, thus unnecessarily increasing the cost of capital for private operators,” the letter said.
“In the transition to a power sector that will require more CAPEX-intensive investments, retroactive measures will seriously endanger the achievement of 2020 targets.”
Just in the last quarter of 2012, Bulgaria cut its feed-in tariffs for renewables by 39% while France cuts its by 20%. Italy confirmed the government’s intentions to stop PV subsidies completely, and this month Ukraine reduced feed-in tariffs for solar power plants commissioned from April 2013.
In Spain the regional governments of Extremadura and Galicia have filed a complaint against the Spanish government’s subsidies moratorium with the highest judicial body in Spain. Furthermore, several foreign and Greek renewable energy investors lodged a complaint with the European Commission in December.
But some countries in Europe have seen fit to proceed with renewables. For example, Poland is looking to increase support for large solar plants through a new FiT and a green certificates programme to meet European Union 2020 renewables targets.