Malta govt contests EUR-35m solar power deal - report

(SeeNews) - Jun 3, 2014 - Malta’s government is evaluating its legal options to back out of an EUR-35-million (USD 47.7m) solar power purchase contract with the Alberta Photovoltaic Consortium, due to unfauvorable conditions, MaltaToday said Tuesday.

An energy ministry spokesperson told the newspaper that the power purchase accord, struck by former resources minister George Pullicino, is “shocking” as it only favours the contractor and is in breach of the traditional tariff structure.

In December 2012, Spanish solar power developer Solarig lauded the concession agreement in Malta for the development of 4.5 MW of photovoltaic (PV) projects for an investment of over EUR 10 million. The systems will be installed on the roofs of government buildings throughout the country, including ministries, hospitals, reservoirs and schools. The solar deal envisages feed-in tariff (FiT) payments of EUR 0.22 per kWh, while the normal FiT rates are EUR 0.16/kWh, MaltaToday said. What is more, the FiT payments under other contracts can be changed, but in the Alberta-Solarig tie-up’s case the rates are fixed for 25 years. The government calculates that the difference between normal FiTs and the one received by Solarig and its partner equals EUR 11 million in extra payments from taxpayers.

According to the report, the government is legally bound to implement the solar deal or risk facing legal action.

(EUR 1 = USD 1.364)

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