Solar Plug

Government removes renewable energy incentives

The Senate on Wednesday night passed amendments to the Land Tax Act removing a rebate granted to manufacturers and producers of solar energy.

Introducing the Land Tax (Amendment) Act, 2015, the acting Leader of Government Business, Senator Dr Esther Byer, said the wording of the law had given rise to misinterpretation, which had resulted in individual house owners with solar energy-trapping devices on their roofs applying for the 50 per cent tax rebate.

She explained, however, that the legislation was intended to benefit only manufacturers and exporters of solar equipment.

The amendments, passed without comment from Opposition and independent senators present, removed tax rebates as an incentive package for both individual house owners and manufacturers of such equipment.

Minister of Labour Dr. Esther Byer
Senator Dr. Esther Byer

Dr Byer explained: “The Minister [of Energy] had indicated that he would be returning to this particular issue of rebates and other incentives for the manufacturing sector. It just would not be written as it is here, which is quite ambiguous in its wording”.

She added: “Government still has its plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency . . .  still aims to put Barbados ahead of the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean as the number one country in terms of renewable energy and energy efficiency.”

“There are still incentives in terms of income tax at the individual level,” she emphasized.

The amendments repeal sections 6I and 6J of the Act. In part, Section 6I gives “a company or an individual who manufactures goods in any calendar year for export, the value of which is $100,000 or more, the amount of tax paid by that company or individual would be calculated at 50 per cent of the tax demanded…”

In part, Section 6J states, “Where a company or individual is engaged in the production of solar energy, or the manufacture of goods to be used in the production of solar energy, the amount of tax payable by that company or individual shall be calculated on 50 per cent of the tax demanded…”.

Dr Byer said: “In both of these sections, it actually speaks to the company or individual, and that has led to some misinterpretation”. She added that the misinterpretation had caused the then Commissioner of Inland Revenue to note that because of it, “individuals who installed photovoltaic equipment on their roofs were coming forward to claim this rebate”.

“There are incentives and rebates available under the income tax for those individuals, but this particular section of the Act was inserted so as to incentivize the manufacturing sector to promote the production of these goods… for export,” she explained.

“The advice given at this time is just to repeal those two sections.”

11 Responses to Solar Plug

  1. Cat Rock
    Cat Rock May 22, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Surely its not the fault of the home owner they were allowed to take advantage of a perceived loop hole. The responsibility lies with the tax office to ensure the correct application of the law is followed to prevent abuse of the legislation. You do not need to repeal the law you need to retrain the staff.

    Reply
    • Olutoye Walrond May 22, 2015 at 9:40 am

      I don’t think they are blaming the home owners for taking advantage of the concession; they are seeking to ensure it doesn’t continue.

      But I may be simplistic in my thinking. It seems to me that if you want something to apply only to manufacturers and exporters of solar equipment you would put that in the wording of the legislation “for Manufacturers andexporters….”

      If this were the wording how is it that ordinary home owners could tap into the concession? Boggles the mind.

      Reply
  2. Watchman May 22, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Law is subject to interpretation Cat Rock. If it has ambiguities and or loop holes the staff cannot do anything about that.

    Reply
  3. Olutoye Walrond
    Olutoye Walrond May 22, 2015 at 9:41 am

    I don’t think they are blaming the home owners for taking advantage of the concession; they are seeking to ensure it doesn’t continue.

    But I may be simplistic in my thinking. It seems to me that if you want something to apply only to manufacturers and exporters of solar equipment you would put that in the wording of the legislation “for Manufacturers andexporters….”

    If this were the wording how is it that ordinary home owners could tap into the concession? Boggles the mind.

    Reply
  4. Mac10 May 22, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Penalising the user of solar products?????

    How is that supposed to energise an industry & encourage further take-up of alternative energy in this country?

    This is simply about keeping BL&P profits up.

    By only allowing incentives for the manufacturers it keep the money at the top, not the bottom where it would be spent in the local economy.

    Congrats DLP for killing the economy a little further, shame on you BLP for remaining silent.

    Reply
  5. Heather Cole
    Heather Cole May 22, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    This matter about the law being repealed due to its misinterpretation has me scratching my head. I am at a loss on this one. How could there have been a misinterpretation? Has governments’ policy on renewable and sustainable energy changed? Was it not for everyone including homeowners and the business sector? Why has the law been changed to exclude homeowners? Has government misunderstood the purpose of the law? Makes no sense to me.

    Reply
  6. Mary Amos
    Mary Amos May 22, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Jerry Amos

    Reply
  7. Mary Amos
    Mary Amos May 22, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Mark Hill

    Reply
  8. Harry Roberts May 22, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    why am I not surprised at this mess up it is only another one is a long time of mess ups by this Govt

    Reply
  9. Tony Waterman May 23, 2015 at 2:32 am

    @Heather Cole!!! This Bunch is not my Favourites at all, but in true Public Sector Style (Not only in Bim) they have managed to screw up a very simple Law, but not being able to Word it Properly, (So much for Free UWI Education)

    6I-This Law was intended ONLY for Companies or Individuals who are in the Business of Manufacturing Solar Products (Goods) for “Export” to Other Countries (Caribbean or Worldwide)

    6J-was intended for a Company or Individual who is Manufacturing products (Goods) for the use in the production of Solar Energy,but this is where the problem arises, as some Idiot has injected into this section “Where a company or individual is engaged in the production of solar energy” . and since Individual House owners were producing Solar energy, the claimed the rebate, so it was not even ever a loop hole, it was actually stated clearly in the Law that if they as Individuals produced Solar energy, they could claim the Rebate.

    they did not have to repeal the entire Bill they just needed to rewrite sec 6J, omitting this wording from the beginning of the section. ( “”Where a company or individual is engaged in the production of solar energy””)

    what bothers me most of all id that all Governments have a Legal department, What are they being Paid to do.????

    Reply
  10. nedjeh1 May 23, 2015 at 4:15 am

    Would i be wrong in thinking that this situation is somewhat like A Tale Of Two Polarities. Whereby those Positive and Bright individuals and companies who saw the Light will no doubt retain their rebate after out shining the Law. And those Negative and Dull Individuals and Companies would be left at the Pole staring at the fading lights of the Train of opportunity that pass their way, sedated.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *