German solar plans EEG court action

Germany’s solar industry federation BSW Solar and consumer protection groups are planning a constitutional claim against the introduction of a new levy on self-consumption in the wake of a reform of the country’s Renewable Energies Act (EEG) that was approved by the cabinet in Berlin this week.

According to an expert report by the Geiser & von Oppen law firm in Berlin, there are clear indications that the levy is violating Germany’s Basic Law, the groups claim.

The proposal by the government in Berlin for the first time wants to extend a surcharge to finance the expansion of renewables to include self-consumed electricity.

It stipulates that energy-intensive industries will have to pay 15% of the levy that currently is set at €0.062 per kWh of produced electricity, while producers of renewable energies would be burdened with 50% of the surcharge. Small rooftop PV installations of up to 10kW will be exempt.

The BSW Solar has repeatedly warned that a levy on self-consumption would choke off the already decreasing solar market in the country.

Holger Krawinkel, who heads consumer policy at the federation of German consumer groups VZBZ, said new PV installations don’t cause any significant additional costs for consumers, but help the environment.

“Self-consumption is a significant part of the Energiewende,” Krawinkel says.

“But the current plans are stopping consumers from contributing to a environmentally friendly generation of electricity.”