Czech solar power boom to slow: expert

March 7, 2011
The sun rises over the city of Prague and its castle. The Czech Republic's solar power boom is set to slow this year after scoring Europe's third-fastest increase in installed output in 2010, an expert said, blaming new taxes and rules.

The Czech Republic's solar power boom is set to slow this year after scoring Europe's third-fastest increase in installed output in 2010, an expert said Monday, blaming new taxes and rules.

"The solar boom is undoubtedly over," Marek Hatlapatka, an analyst with the Cyrrus broker company, told AFP.

Hatlapatka expects solar power output in the ex-Communist country of 10.5 million to grow to slightly more than 2,000 this year from 1,820 megawatts in 2010, after record growth of 1,357 megawatts from the 2009 level.

The 2010 solar boom was fuelled by hefty state subsidies, generous fixed purchase prices set by a 2005 law and by the falling costs of , experts say.

Czech solar output growth in 2010 was the third-fastest in Europe, where use of the is booming. The Czech Republic trailed only Germany and Italy in 2010 growth, according to a February report by the European PhotoVoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).

But the Czech Republic's centre-right government slapped a 26-percent tax on solar power last November in a bid to prevent the soaring costs of the subsidies from eventually burdening consumers.

The solar tax revenues will be used to offset the gap between high fixed purchase prices distributors are forced to pay for under subsidy rules and much lower selling prices.

Lawmakers also let the market watchdog cut purchase prices at a faster pace than the five percent a year set in the 2005 law.

"The remarkable drop in purchase prices means the extraordinary return on the investment is over, and I expect investment to stop," Hatlapatka told AFP.

The EPIA also said in its report the "Czech Republic underwent a tremendous market surge that will most likely affect the photovoltaic development there in the worst possible way in the coming months and years."

The new tax angered the Czech Photovoltaic Association, which said the government's move had "violated conditions guaranteed by the state," adding it may affect about 1,450 companies and 5,000 jobs in the sector.

Concerns about potential arbitration lawsuits filed by producers led a group of senators to file a constitutional complaint against the new rules last week.

Explore further: China solar panel makers see boost from Copenhagen

Related Stories

China solar panel makers see boost from Copenhagen

December 3, 2009

In Trina Solar's brilliant white factory in eastern China, masked workers in lab coats turn silicon wafers into solar power cells capable of harnessing the sun's clean and limitless energy.

Taiwan plans massive growth in solar energy

December 4, 2009

Taiwan plans to boost its use of solar panels by a factor of 200 over the next decade and a half in an effort to increase clean energy, a ranking official said Friday.

Italy to host Europe's biggest solar plant: company

March 11, 2010

Europe's most powerful solar power plant is set to start operations in Italy later this year, the US company building the installation on an area as large as 120 football pitches said on Thursday.

Germany to cut solar subsidies to households

January 20, 2011

Germany plans to slash subsidies paid to households generating electricity with their own solar panels by up to 15 percent, and six months earlier than planned, the government said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Roboticists learn to teach robots from babies

December 1, 2015

Babies learn about the world by exploring how their bodies move in space, grabbing toys, pushing things off tables and by watching and imitating what adults are doing.

Xbox gaming technology may improve X-ray precision

December 1, 2015

With the aim of producing high-quality X-rays with minimal radiation exposure, particularly in children, researchers have developed a new approach to imaging patients. Surprisingly, the new technology isn't a high-tech, high-dollar ...

Making 3-D imaging 1,000 times better

December 1, 2015

MIT researchers have shown that by exploiting the polarization of light—the physical phenomenon behind polarized sunglasses and most 3-D movie systems—they can increase the resolution of conventional 3-D imaging devices ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.