“Taxing the Sun” is the new idea the Romanian Government came up with amid a serious energy crisis. Green energy producers are in danger of facing financial difficulties.
The controversial Ordinance was passed and published in the Official Gazette at the beginning of December. Despite supporting clean, renewable energy, the Government’s new Emergency Ordinance will immediately affect citizens and companies that produce more than 30kW or have benefited from state support and will gradually start affecting others by 2026.
The Minister of Energy, Virgil Popescu called the “tax on sunlight” fake news. However, the text published Tuesday evening in the Ordinance was a blow to green energy producers and consumers. He also stated that the Government was forced to give the new law following the UE Directive 2018/2001.
The Save Romania Union (USR) vice-president, Cristian Ghinea, threatened to notify the European Commission of this. He stated: “The Government put a tax on what someone produces and consumes. This is not a tax on distributed energy but a tax on energy produced by individuals or companies on their own roofs and consumed only by themselves. So, the State forces me to buy a special meter and pay for the sun rays that my solar panel absorbed. This is absurd discrimination. If you produce more than 30Kw, this tax affects you immediately, and if you produce less than that, it will affect you starting with 2026. If the State helped you get the solar panels or if you benefited from the Green Home program, you are taxed immediately.”
Despite assurances from Romanian authorities to protect vulnerable consumers from price shocks, the dangers faced by green energy producers are significant. The financial difficulties they might face from the new tax could potentially be the cause of insolvencies and closures.
This new Emergency Ordinance comes as a shock in a country that is strongly affected by the energy crisis. 73% of Romanians face financial difficulties after the prices for electricity and gas soared following the Russia-Ukraine war.
Diana Livesay is an investigative journalist from Cluj-Napoca, Romania. When she’s not exposing corruption in the local government, she works in the publishing industry in the U.S., promoting Romanian history, culture, and literature.