Swedish government to abolish solar energy tax

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The Swedish government proposes to effectively abolish a newly introduced tax on solar energy after heavy criticism from environmental experts and the opposition, the country’s finance minister said on Monday.

Earlier this year, Sweden’s center-left government introduced an energy tax on solar power production above 255 kilowatt. While the tax did not effect single-family households with solar panels many companies, such as commercial landlords, with bigger production were affected.

The tax will be slashed by 98 percent in 2017 but could not be completely abolished due to technical reasons.

“This allows for rapid investments (in solar energy), while our long-term ambition is to completely remove the tax on solar electricity,” Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said in a statement.

The government, which is comprised of the Social Democrats and the Greens, cited compliance with European Union rules for introducing the new tax but the European Commission later said that was not the case.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Niklas Pollard.