Monday, November 5, 2012

Bulgaria Cuts Tariffs For New Solar Installations

Bulgaria approved further cuts to guaranteed rates for new solar power installations, after already halving the tariffs in June due to lower costs, the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday.

Ralitsa Stoyanova , a spokeswoman for the regulator, confirmed cuts of about 35 percent from Sept. 1 for large roof installations and nearly 28 percent for solar parks on the ground, as the cost of building solar generating facilities has fallen sharply.

Renewable energy investors, who have poured millions of euros into solar parks in the European Union's poorest member state, have criticized the cuts, saying they will scare off badly-needed investment, and vowed to appeal against them.

Solar energy parks in the small southeast European country have mushroomed after the government passed legislation guaranteeing tariffs over a 20-year period for solar investors.

Companies such as U.S.-based AES Corp, Russia's Lukoil, South Korea's SDN, Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power and dozens of others rushed to take advantage of the incentives and the abundant sunshine in the Balkan country.

The total installed capacity of photovoltaic parks soared to more than 700 MW by the end of August from 134 MW at the end of 2011, industry officials say.

The surge of solar generation has however pushed up consumer prices by 13 percent in 2012 as the government seeks to recoup the cost of the subsidies.

Power prices are politically sensitive in Bulgaria, where energy bills account for a huge part of monthly incomes, especially during the winter.


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