1. Legislation

By Act No. 165/2012 Coll., amending, among others, Act No. 185/2001 Coll., on waste, as amended (the “Act“), in Section 37p (2), a new obligation was imposed on operators of solar power plants using solar panels which were placed in the market prior to 1 January 2013, namely to help finance the collection for the treatment, recovery and disposal of electrical waste from solar panels and included compliance with such obligations.

PV power plants operators are obliged to ensure financing and fulfilment of these obligations by transferring them to a person specified in Section 37h (1) (c) of the Act; i.e. to another legal entity which helps provide joint compliance with the obligations under the Act. Within the meaning of Section 37h (4) of the Act, this legal entity must be established by (i) at least four producers of electrical equipment or (ii) another legal entity associated with at least four producers of electrical equipment (the so called “collective system”). Although not explicitly included in the Act, a special permit for such an entity is also required by the Ministry of Environment (“MoE“).

A decree to the Act has been prepared by the MoE. The decree will specify detailed conditions for financing the above specified obligations. It is expected that the decree will introduce a method of calculating the contribution necessary to finance the management of electrical waste from solar panels.

2. A new draft implementing decree

According to the updated draft decree which was made publically available on 18 June 2013 and incorporates various comments made by third parties on the first draft of the decree:

  • The amount of the contribution that the PV power plant operators will be required to pay to the "collective system" will be determined in accordance with the amount (the weight) of the solar panels. The weight of the panels will be calculated in accordance with the formula stated in the draft decree. When calculating the minimum amount of the contribution, in particular the following factors will be taken into account: (i) the expected costs of the transportation and treatment of the solar panels; (ii) any related administrative costs and (iii) the following revenues from recycling the solar panels.
  • The minimum contribution must always be at least CZK 11.00/kg of solar panels installed in the PV power plant.
  • The weight of the solar panels, for the purposes of calculating the minimum amount of contribution, will depend on the installed capacity of the PV power plant. In determining the weight, 1 Wp shall be regarded as representing 0.11 kg. The installed capacity of the PV power plant (as stated in the PV power plant’s licence for the production of electricity) will therefore be decisive when calculating the minimum amount of the contribution required.
  • The option of the PV power plant operators to switch between the "collective systems" after the conclusion of an agreement with a "collective system" operator is not explicitly permitted by the updated draft decree, in comparison to its previous drafts.

3. Obligations of photovoltaic power plant operators

PV power plant operators have the following immediate obligations:

  1. to enter into a contract with a legal entity by 30 June 2013 according to the provision of Section 37h (1) (c) of the Act, i.e. with an operator of the “collective system”;
  2. to pay from 1 January 2014 to 1 January 2019 equal annual contributions to the financing of the collection for treatment, recovery and disposal of the electrical waste from solar panels; and to comply with these obligations.

4. Collective systems operators

Permits to operate collective systems for the management of electrical waste from solar panels have been granted to the following entities:

Asekol Solar s.r.o.

Rema PV Systém s.r.o.

According to unverified information from various sources, as at 17 June 2013, the MoE recorded applications for permission of the “collective system” for solar panels from the following applicants:

RETELA, s.r.o.

OFO –recycling s.r.o.

PV Recovery, s.r.o.

ECOPARTNER s.r.o.

RE Solar, s.r.o.

5. General recommendations for PV power plants operators

We can make general recommendations for PV power plants operators which we advise should be carried out in the next few days (unless they have already done so):

  • address the above specified operators of collective systems and request draft contracts;
  • assess the calculation of their contribution in contracts and other contractual terms and conditions; such as:
    • whether the contract covers all legal obligations;
    • ensuring effective management of invested funds;
    • the opportunities to influence the selection of processor of waste;
    • the opportunities to terminate the contract without a reason.
  • attempt to negotiate changes in the submitted draft contracts; and
  • enter in a contract with the collective system administrator (with an entity pursuant to the provision of Section 37h (1) (c) of the Act) by 30 June 2013.