French PV association criticises government plan to cut tax credits

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Soler, the solar power division of the French renewable energy association Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables (SER), has criticised the French government for including a measure to cancel tax credits of up to 11% for residential PV systems in its 2014 budget plan.

SOLER said in that in the first half of 2013 only 207MW of PV capacity was added in France and that the market has yet to recover from a poor 12 months, despite government assistance earlier in the year.

According to the General Commission for Sustainable Development, quoted by SOLER, the number of new PV installations fell 78% between the first half of 2012 and the first half of 2013 due to lack of political support. SOLER argues that some panel producers may not survive without government assistance, leading to the loss of hundreds of jobs. The residential market in France, according to SOLER, now forms around a quarter of the domestic solar power industry.

The French government presented a draft of its 2014 Finance Act on Wednesday, which requires approval by parliament before it can be enacted from December. The Finance Act details planned government spending for the following year. The government is under pressure to reduce the fiscal deficit from 4.1% of GDP in 2013 to 3.6% of GDP next year, partly in order to bring national debt in line with European Commission requirements.

The drafted bill has been issued on the eve of the EUPVSEC international conference for photovoltaic research, taking place from 30 September to 4 October in Paris. The government’s draft bill also includes proposals for punitive taxes on vehicles, activities and energy/oil products that pollute.

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