Following discussions with Greenpeace Israel, the Israeli Ministry of Finance has stated that it hopes to enact regulations and policies to remove hurdles for increasing investment in the solar power sector.
During the discussions with Greenpeace, Israeli Ministry of Finance officials admitted that the net-metering regulations implemented two years ago have not benefited household consumers. The regulations allow solar power generators to sell excess power from their small-scale systems to utilities. The ministry officials claimed that from 1 September new regulations would take effect which, they hoped, would address this issue.
Some other changes that the ministry would consider implementing include a permanent tax exemption for income generated from household solar power systems. A bill allowing the same has already been approved by the ministry in July. The ministry would also consider providing exemptions from value-added tax to solar power producers and relax property tax rates for rooftop as well as ground-mounted solar power facilities.
Israel has set a target to increase the share of solar power in the country’s power generation to 10% by 2020. In line with this goal, the Israeli government has approved several solar thermal power projects as well.
While work on large utility-scale solar power projects has been progressing well, the household rooftop solar power market in Israel is yet to take off, as rightly pointed out by Greenpeace. The environmental group also urged the finance ministry officials to consider offering financial incentives and support to households to boost the rooftop solar power sector. The group was happy with the response of ministry officials and hoped for positive steps on part of the government.
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