Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Foreign Firms Open Legal Proceeding Against Italy Solar Cuts

A group of foreign solar power investors has opened legal proceedings against Italy over planned cuts in incentives to the photovoltaic industry, it said on Wednesday.

Italy's solar sector, among the biggest in Europe, has boomed since 2005 when state-backed production incentives were first launched. But Italy has decided to scrap the existing generous solar incentives starting in June.

Photovoltaic Operators Investors (POI) hoped the draft solar decree could be changed to make it "more equitable so as to safeguard and not prejudice investments made", it said in a statement.

The group has brought proceedings against Italy under a 1994 European energy charter, it said.

POI includes AES Solar Energy BV (AES.N), Akuo Energy Sas, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, Martifer Solar S.A. (MARTI.LS), Siliken S.A., Solarig N-Gage S.A. and Wurth Solar GmbH & co. KG.

Rome's new draft support scheme would in part cap subsidies for solar developers at between 6 billion and 7 billion euros ($8.8 billion and $10.3 billion) per year by the end of 2016, when installed capacity is expected to be around 23,000 megawatts.

The decree was presented to a meeting of Italian regional authorities and the state last week but the gathering was put back to April 28 to allow more time for study of the measures.

POI said its members had made investments in Italy under regulations passed in August 2010 which had been changed once and which could shortly be replaced by other measures that were "worse, retroactive and discriminating".


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