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New Solar Panel Levy In Hungary Criticized

By Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

15 January 2015


The Government of Hungary is facing criticism for classifying solar panels as products that "cause significant pollution" and subjecting them to a steep new environmental levy.

The charge is HUF114 (USD4) per kilogram, which the industry says will increase the cost per panel by between HUF2,000 and HUF2,500. According to the Government, the levy is needed to cover the expense of dealing with hazardous waste from discarded panels in accordance with European Union waste management standards.

The move has been condemned by industry bodies and the political opposition. The Solar Cell Sun Collector Alliance (MNNSZ) said that the average lifespan of solar panels is 35 to 40 years and that they are fully recyclable, while the Hungarian Photovoltaic Industry Association (MANAP) argued that the levy amounts to a cost that is between five-to-seven times higher than elsewhere in the EU.

Meanwhile, the left-wing Democratic Coalition (DK) said that the environmental charge favors the gas industry and should be scrapped altogether, while the nationalist Jobbik Party accused the Government of introducing a "tax on sunlight."

Critics have also pointed out that the amendment classes solar panels as more polluting than batteries.

TAGS: environment | tax | Hungary | energy | environmental tax | tax rates

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