Solar photovoltaic sector in Tunisia: Is the State unfaithful to its declared objectives? | Tunisia News Gazette

Solar photovoltaic sector in Tunisia: Is the State unfaithful to its declared objectives?

The energy authorities in Tunisia are targeting ambitious targets for renewable energy. As part of the Tunisian Solar Plan (PST) by 2030, they are counting on a 30% share of renewable energy in the energy mix, now over 98% based on fossil energy.

Currently the energy deficit continues to worsen from 707 to 1,108 million dinars (57%) between April 2016 and April 2017.

For the National Federation of Electricity and Electronics (FEDELEC) stemming from the Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), “the targets set for renewable energy would not be achieved, if the State continues to adopt an absurd approach, favouring bureaucracy and consisting on the one hand in increasing the cost through customs taxes imposed on the equipment necessary for solar installations and in granting subsidies to the producers to lower these same costs, on the other.”

“This approach can only increase the burden of the National Agency for Energy Management (ANME), obliged to study thousands of files but also weigh on the finances of companies and delays of projects to the extent that they are called upon to pay more taxes and to wait for a long time to obtain the State’s subsidies,” estimates the Federation.

“The ANME is currently devoting about 10 million dinars to self-generation subsidies, if the State carries on this” absurd “approach, this amount should increase to 150 MD a year, for the achievement of the solar plan. In the present situation and the state of public finances, it would be very difficult to mobilise such an amount.”

The UTICA proposed “the elimination of the subsidy granted to equipment for the self-production of electricity from renewable energy and at the same time, the withdrawal of the tariffs imposed on this equipment with the introduction of a VAT of 6 at import and sale. This measure could generate about 50 MD a year for the benefit of the Energy Intervention Fund and contribute to the creation of projects and jobs.”

“The energy governance in Tunisia seems to act not only against the declared objectives but also against the trend of solar photovoltaic growth worldwide,” said, for its part, the Trade Union of the Photovoltaic within the UTICA (French: CSPV) in a note sent to TAP.

The CSPV called thus “to release the solar photovoltaic to ensure its better chances of survival,” believing that no government in the world is able to predict the major technological advances in the energy sector and that attempts to promote them by means of subsidies “only delay them.”

Not only in Tunisia, but in the four corners of the world, the Solar Photovoltaic is seen as a lifeline and a suitable alternative to the fossil. This clean energy has enormous potential to solve the planet’s energy problems and also those of the environment and climate.

The drop in global costs, divided by 6 in 9 years, is an opportunity for Tunisia that aspires to achieve its energy independence and create a local industry of solar PV plants for residential, agricultural (pumping) and also tourist sectors. According to experts, the solar PV sector is also 4 times more job-creating than fossil energy and also generates riches (free electricity, energy of tomorrow).

However, the policy adopted by Tunisia has not ceased for years to play against the declared goals of the energy strategies.

In this case, the 2018 Finance Law dealt with the importation of cells and equipment necessary for the installation of solar panels, “not as a privileged product reflecting a serious policy of encouragement of a clean energy, the sole guarantee of energy self-sufficiency of the country, but rather as a product of convenience and worse like a lipstick or sunflower seeds,” according to the CSPV.

While the solar photovoltaic costs are dropping dramatically in the global market, especially in China, the 2018 Finance Law provides for an increase in VAT and taxes on the import of solar panels!

Though the article 42 of this law which stipulates this increase was rejected by the Parliamentary Finance Commission, the operators of the sector are afraid of seeing the government take a new measure of tax increase, which will demotivate the investment in the sector and prevent the local industry from being more competitive.

Source: TAP News Agency

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