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Belgium Mulls Solar Panel Tax

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

17 May 2013

Belgian companies managing the country’s electricity and natural gas distribution grids (GRD), including Ores and Tecteo, are asking for a tax on solar panels from October 1, to ensure that owners contribute to using the network.

GRD firms intend to submit a request for the introduction of a levy to CREG, the federal regulator of the gas and electricity market, by the end of May.

Defending their request, head of Ores, Fernand Grifnée, underlined the need "to end the discrimination," arguing that owners of solar panels do not currently pay to use the grid. Consequently, the costs are passed on to other consumers, Grifnée explained. Grifnée nevertheless insisted that the additional costs are neither a tax nor a fee, but merely a tariff.

GRD companies advocate the introduction of a contribution linked to the actual output of the photovoltaic installation, and have suggested that an annual sum of EUR50 (USD64) per kWc be imposed on all installations, irrespective of size, to ensure equal tax treatment.

The idea of a tax on photovoltaic panels is not new. Walloon energy regulator CWaPE recently recommended that a levy of EUR55 per kWc be introduced by way of a contribution to network costs. CWaPE did, however, also propose that an exemption be accorded for installations with an output of below three kWc.

TAGS: tax | Belgium | energy | tax rates | tax breaks

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