Photovoltaic Plants as a Fiscal Investment: Saving Taxes on Solar Cells?

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The massive reduction of transport rates planned for 01.01.2012 for so-called solar power has frightened private investors. On the other hand, interesting decisions have recently been made which make it worthwhile to highlight this investment in a paper.

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Here writes for you:


Reinhard Schinkel 58Is Reinhard Schinkel according to Handelsblatt one of Germany's best tax advisors and specialist author for tax law.


From the author:




What is the feed-in tariff?

Depending on the actual installed power (viewing period 01.10.2010-30.09.2011)), the lowering of the conveying rates will be at least 9%. Should the expansion of the photovoltaic plants continue so massively, a further reduction to the 01.07.2012 is planned.

The current feed-in tariff is 28,74 C / kwh (plant capacity up to 30KW). The following table shows the planned reduction: Degression of remuneration according to § 20 a EEG 2012

Installed power in MW to the 2012 * to the 1.7.2012 **
compared to the previous year in% compared to 1.1.2012 in%
1500 1,5 0
2000 4 0
2500 6,5 0
<3500 9 0
> 3500 12 3
> 4500 15 6
> 5500 18 9
> 6500 21 12
> 7500 24 15

The fiscal framework

The date of commissioning is decisive for the compensation rate. The remuneration is guaranteed for the duration of 20 years. How, however, are the tax conditions?

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With the generation and feeding of the solar power the investor achieves commercial income. In the case of so-called small-scale installations, no commercial tax is charged on the basis of the open-air ticket to the trade tax (24.500 € trade income).


In terms of VAT, the investor acts as an entrepreneur. Below the sales limit of 17.500 € in the current year and 50.000 € in the past year, this can be treated as a small business in accordance with § 19 UStG.

Financially, however, that doesn't matter Sense, On the one hand, the input tax deduction from the investment is lost (with a net investment of € 15.000 that would be at least € 2.850 input tax), on the other hand, the electricity companies pay the sales tax if the option is appropriate. This does not have to be calculated from the feed-in tariff.

Deductibility of additional costs?

What is to be done, however, if no space is available and an extraschuppen is installed for the operation of a solar system?

Here the BFH denies the operational connection, with the consequence that the acquisition costs for the shed can not be claimed as operating expenses for the income from the operation of a photovoltaic system.

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Sales tax and roof leasing

With the sales tax issue of the roof lease to a photovoltaic plant operator, an order of the Free State of Bavaria from the 17.08.2011 is concerned: The following principles must be observed:

If the leasing is carried out against a current remuneration for the roof, a sales tax exempt from sales is applied. In accordance with § 9 UStG, the option for value-added tax is possible for the roofing contractor.

For roofing

However, it is often the case that the roof is provided in return for a roof renovation carried out by the photovoltaic operator. An immediate input tax deduction from the lessee (operator) is possible for the costs of roof renovation. The tenant has to pay tax on the value-added tax for the “free of charge” provision of the roof renovation.

The assessment basis is based on the duration of the lease and is to be applied to the duration of the benefit agreement in the case of an actual taxpayer (taxation according to fees collected):

An example

The tenant rehabilitates the roof for 20.000 € net. It can claim a deduction of 19% (3.800 €). The transfer is 25 years (300 months). For each month, the tenant has to tax an own consumption of 66,70 € (12,67 € value added tax drops).

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The example shows a considerable liquidity advantage for the tenant as an actual taxpayer. If, however, this is a set-off taxpayer (taxation according to agreed charges), the delivery is to be taxed at the time of the completion in the amount of the costs (also 20.000 €, 3.800 € value-added tax).

Other income tax

If an investment is planned and can be made credible (binding order in 2011, installation in 2012), the investor can already claim tax loss in the year 2011 40% of the acquisition costs via the so-called investment withdrawal amount.

Since the asset is movable (so-called operating equipment), a special depreciation amounting to 20% of the acquisition costs (after commissioning) is also possible (§7g EStG).


If the private investor succeeds in the acquisition of a photovoltaic plant in 2011, the still very good remuneration rates for the next 20 years are certain to him. However, an investment that has only been made in 2012 can also be tax-deductible because of the investment withdrawal amount, for example, when an exceptionally high profit is achieved in 2011.

The operation of a photovoltaic system should always be carried out with an option for value added tax, otherwise the deduction of input tax from the acquisition costs of the installation is lost.

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    #Blogpost Photovoltaic systems as a tax investment: Save money with solar cells?

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    Photovoltaic systems as a tax investment: Save taxes with solar cells ?: The 01.01….

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