ECONOMY

Photovoltaic firms demand some new tax incentives

Photovoltaic systems production firms yesterday called for the reinstatement and extension of a number of recently abolished tax breaks for installations producing this solar type of energy. «The Greek photovoltaic (PV) systems market remains small and marginal and our country has installed just 0.1 percent of the total number of PV systems globally,» said Stelios Psomas, a consultant of the Photovoltaic Firms’ Association (SEF), told a news briefing of the newly founded body. He noted that the considerable environmental advantages of the use of PV systems (zero pollution, noiseless operation, reliability and long life) needed to be supplemented by financial incentives in order to be realized. SEF officials said tax breaks could be flexible, targeting investments, whether they benefited the end user or the funder. Such an approach would facilitate funding by third parties and leasing on a wide scale. They also said that a reduction of value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase and installation of PV and other equipment for renewable energy sources from 18 percent to 8 percent would pep up the market and end the distortion caused by the fact that both electric power and natural gas were subject to the lower rate. The government was also urged to commit itself to absorb a certain amount of «green» energy. Moreover, it could encourage the promotion of a «Solar Roofs» program by providing grants to investors and subsidies to consumers of electricity produced in this way. Such incentives, already in place in many countries, SEF said, would help greatly in the attainment of the targets set in the national plan for preventing climatic change.