Knesset's new solar field.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Moving one step closer to curbing property tax (“arnona”) rates on solar panel installations, Interior Minister Silvan Shalom transferred new regulations on the subject to the Knesset Finance Committee on Tuesday.
Pending the approval of the Finance Committee and the final signatures of Shalom and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, the proposed regulations would provide an arnona exemption to rooftop facilities under 200 square meters, while significantly reducing the property tax rates on larger rooftops and fields. The regulations cover both photovoltaic and solar-thermal installations, the Interior Ministry said.
According to the regulations for rooftops, every square meter between 200 sq.m. and 1,000 sq.m. would be charged NIS 0.06. The price would be NIS 0.03 for every square meter between 1,000 sq.m. and 2,000 sq.m., and NIS 0.015 for every square meter over 2,000 sq.m.
In non-rooftop settings, every square meter up to 10,000 sq.m. would be charged NIS 0.24. The price would be NIS 0.12 for every square meter between 10,000 sq.m. and 300,000 sq.m., NIS 0.06 between 300,000 sq.m. and 750,000 sq.m. and NIS 0.03 for above 750,000 sq.m.
Following Shalom’s initial approval and transfer of the regulations on Tuesday, Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), expressed his intentions to advance the regulations in his committee as soon as possible. Gafni has long championed these changes, already receiving unofficial but unanimous approval for them in his committee in August. The issue has been awaiting official regulation since 2010.
Also in the solar sector on Tuesday, the Public Utility Authority announced its decision to adjust its tariff model, in order to ease the burden on Israeli taxpayers.
Many power producers who began operating their facilities between 2008 and 2014 have since upgraded to newer, more efficient technologies – thereby generating much more electricity than in the past and amassing greater revenues as a result, according to the PUA.
With the PUA’s decision, these power producers will still receive their current tariff rate for the quantities of electricity generated that match those amounts produced prior to their technology upgrades. However, surplus amounts generated will now receive a slightly reduced tariff rate, the authority said.
“The PUA welcomes the improvement in output of these facilities and technological innovation in the field, but in light of the changes in market prices, it is our responsibility to make sure that there will be no abuse of such arrangements at the expensive of the public,” said Honi Kabalo, head of the PUA’s Renewable Energy Department. “Entrepreneurs who want to upgrade systems are invited to do so, subject to this criteria.”