Renewables

North Macedonia joins other countries in region seeking to encourage small solar projects

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Photo: MinkS from Pixabay

Published

August 31, 2022

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Published:

August 31, 2022

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One by one, countries in the region are realizing that having more prosumers producing their own electricity can help alleviate the impact of the energy crisis and soaring power prices. Following in the footsteps of Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, and the Federation of BiH in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Government of North Macedonia is now seeking to encourage households and businesses to start using solar energy. This week, it has decided to simplify the procedures for installing small photovoltaic power plants on the roofs of houses and commercial buildings.

The simplified procedures, proposed through amendments to North Macedonia’s construction law, will apply to solar systems of up to 6 kW on individually owned buildings and up to 40 kW on buildings owned by legal entities.

Citizens and companies will no longer need approval from the municipality to install a solar plant

Under the proposed amendments, citizens and companies will not need approval or a decision from the municipality for the installation of photovoltaic power plants, as was the case before, according to Minister of Transport and Communications Blagoj Bochvarski.

The investors will only be obliged to notify the local authority about the installation of the power plant and submit the necessary documentation, he explained, adding that he expects the amendments to be approved at the next parliamentary session.

The 1 MW limit for approved solar projects will also be abolished

The proposed amendments will also scrap the 1 MW limit on the capacity of power plants that are installed on buildings with the consent of the municipality, according to him. On residential buildings, solar power plants can be installed by a community of tenants, and such projects will require a written consent from a majority of the owners of apartments, Bochvarski added.

The Federation of BiH is also easing requirements for small solar plants

The Federation of BiH has drafted legislative changes to ease the requirements for the installation of small solar and wind power plants, of up to 1 MW, for households and businesses that intend to produce electricity for self-consumption only, without delivering any surpluses to the grid. Such projects, as well as energy storage in batteries of up to 500 kW will no longer require a building permit, according to the draft law.

Croatia and Montenegro have opted to scrap the VAT on solar panels

Elsewhere in the region, Croatia and Montenegro are looking to encourage prosumers by abolishing value-added tax (VAT) on solar panels. The Croatian government was the first to propose such a move, announcing that the 25% VAT on solar modules will be slashed to zero. A few days later, the Montenegrin Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism announced plans to propose scrapping the country’s 21% VAT on solar panels.

Serbia is giving subsidies for installing solar panels, but the total budget is just EUR 1.7 million

In Serbia, the state is subsidizing the installation of solar panels, splitting the cost of the subsidies with local governments. However, the total budget approved by the Ministry of Energy and Mining is RSD 100 million, while local governments should set aside a further RSD 100 million, which means that prosumers around the country will get a total of only RSD 200 million (about EUR 1.7 million), or a maximum of RSD 420,000 (around EUR 3,580) per project.

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