An investigation into Danish solar panel subsidy laws by the country's national audit office, Rigsrevisionen, will continue as planned, according to the speaker of parliament Mogens Lykketoft.
A letter was sent by Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and three leading cabinet ministers to the speaker which appeared to display a refusal to cooperate with auditors. Lykketoft wrote a reply in which he stated that he had no jurisdiction over the public accounting office or national audit office and that the government could therefore not prevent the investigation from taking place. The national audit office was appointed to investigate the matter in June.
New laws had been introduced in the country earlier this year, aimed at curbing the rise of PV installations after Denmark's installed PV capacity increased by over 200MW in 2012 from around just 17.5MW installed by the end of 2011. Denmark had originally set a target of 800MW by 2020, with subsidies to be revised annually after 2018.
The success of the scheme in encouraging installations meant that, according to climate minister Martin Lidegaard, speaking in October last year, it was costing the government around €270 million (US$365 million) annually, which the country could not afford.
However the new laws were widely criticised not only because they were found to be flawed, containing ‘loopholes’, but also because high level figures including the climate minister knew about the flaws before the law was passed. The loopholes included large subsidised installations being allowed in agricultural fields and businesses being permitted to fit rooftop installations.
Subsidies for large installations will be gradually reduced to close the loopholes, but according to Danish news outlets even this transitional measure is expected to cost the government up to DK2.9 billion (US$526 million).
Prime minister Thorning-Schmidt said after sending the letter that it was not meant to obscure facts or prevent the investigation but was instead requesting discussions to take place on whether or not the auditor should have access to work that went into drafting the legislation.