Friday, June 13, 2014

[Update 6/26] Sun Tax: Germany to tax solar power used for own home

Cynics predicted it, they must have known: the German government is gearing up to exploit the 2014 Soccer World Cup distraction for a slew of laws.

In full accord with the old saying "no good deed goes unpunished", the proud, sometimes just a little smug, owners of photovoltaics installations on their roofs will have to pay a tax on the power they use for their own home or business.

Before we get rapped for calling it a tax, please note that it is called a levy or a surcharge. That's really for lawyers to figure out. In our simple minds, if the government makes you pay anything other than a fee for a specific service, we call it a tax.

Now, Germany's photovoltaics boom was supported by government subsidies. That largesse came in the form of said surcharge on electricity, which was then used to pay photovoltaics owners a great price for the juice they fed into the grid.

The incentive worked so well that the government slashed the compensation for grid feed-in and mandated owners to consume some power themselves.

Industry got themselves generous exemptions from the surcharge, individuals and small businesses were thus hit with, as some people around here call is, a "Doppelfuck". According to cynics, a Doublefuck is a compound where "double" is an hommage to Orwell, and the other component an hommage to government in general.

Pre 2014 Soccer World Cup, the government wanted to exempt tiny producers from the added levy on power used for their own needs.

As soon as the  World Cup started, they added the approximately one fifth of small scale producers to the Pay Me list.

We will keep you posted on whether our photovoltaic pond pump is included in the levy. We will also publish information on which agency will enforce the changes, or as the cynics call them Solar Cops.

TheEditor is grateful to the German government for ongoing non-soccer entertainment during these weeks that are so exceedingly difficult for mammals which do not like to play ball.

[Update, hot June 13 afternoon]
For the more adventurous readers, here  are a couple of easy ways to mess with the new system.

1) Buy lots of rechargeable batteries and lots of LED lights that run on batteries. Now, buy a solar battery charger, and you are good. If you have a normal size house and are not into over priced designer lights, you can run all lights like this.

2) If the government passes the changes and you receive an invoice for x amount of "self used" electricity, write a letter saying you are running your photovoltaics installation only in the dark.

Item 2 seems to be a result of 90+ F outside temperatures. We'll check to see if we maintain the recommendation once it gets cooler.

[End of update]

[Update 26 June]
The levy on small installations under 10 kwp (peak kilowatt performance) was abandoned - again - in the newest and greatest version of the bill. We'd say "stay tuned for more updates", but if we did, well, in 2014 #groko Germany somebody might accuse us of running a clandestine radio station. Come back often to check here.
[End of update]

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