A cross-border team of journalists has focused on the potential corruption of solar energy support in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. More specifically, in the Czech Republic, the government has been postponing the changes to law allowing the state-guaranteed price of solar electricity to match the decline in investment in solar electricity.
As a result, the state guaranteed exorbitant prices until the end of 2010 to everyone who built a solar power plant. The so-called solar boom broke out. Then, from 2011, prices plummeted to less than half, with entrepreneurs scrambling to get licences for the plants that were not yet completed. Curious lawsuits are still pending until today. Substantially the lawsuits stem from a fraudulent scheme, where the owner handed over the plant as completed, even though it was unfinished, in order to obtain a licence by the end of 2010 and thus be able to obtain the extremely favourable pre-2010 purchase price for the electricity generated in the future.
Additionally, the team has also described a case of a bribe given to representatives of one of the largest companies that built solar power plants. It involved one of the MPs who had delayed the early price cuts.
The situation in Slovakia was somewhat different, with the state determining how much solar capacity it wanted and launching a tender to fill the demand. However, the tender offer was published only four days in advance, so that only those who knew about the call in advance could effectively participate in the tender process. Among them were a number of Slovak oligarchs. Antonio Vadala, an Italian “businessman” with links to the Calabrian mafia Ndrangheta, also had plans to do business in solar in Slovakia, but in the end the plans fell through. The journalists have described the origins of corruption in the solar energy sector and its consequences on the market situation.
The first article is the opening article summarizing the infamous history of the Czech government subsidy program for renewable energy projects. The government committed to buying solar power from the subsidized power plants at fixed prices over a period of 20 years. Until the end of 2010, the agreed price was excessive which caused a fierce race for licensing of new subsidized powerplants, as these would be guaranteed a huge profit for 20 years.
The team will bring a series of stories about the fraud and corruption which ensued from this subsidy program and the owners of the largest solar power plants.
Photo image: Lenka Matoušková
- Rozlet a pád slunečních podnikatelů - Investigace.cz, 23/09/2021;
- Největší solární hráči - Investigace.cz, 23/09/2021;
- Úplatek milion korun za elektrárnu - Investigace.cz, 31/09/2021;
- Solární narkobaroni - Investigace.cz, 06/10/2021;
- Spalující slunce podnikatele Zemka - Investice.cz, 07/10/2022;
- Slovensko: Z podpory pro solární elektrárny těžili oligarchové - Investice.cz, 08/10/2021;
- Solární elektrárny: Primární bylo odhalit podvod - Investice.cz, 13/10/2021;
- Rozlet a pád slunečních podnikatelů. „Byla jsem ve špatném čase na špatném místě,“ říká bývalá úřednice ERÚ - DenikN, 24/09/2021;
- Milion v octavii na Černém Mostě. Jak se uplácelo kvůli solárním elektrárnám - DenikN, 06/10/2021;
- Spalující slunce podnikatele Zemka. Jeho synové si v solární kauze tresty odpykali, on před soudem zatím nestál - DenikN, 14/10/2021;
- Vlastníci solárních elektráren většinou nic nespáchali, museli by něco podepsat. Vyšetřovali jsme i politiky, říká žalobce - DenikN, 16/10/2021;
- Solárni baróni v Čechách a na Slovensku: ako na zelených dotáciách zarábajú oligarchovia aj mafia - ICJK, 16/10/2021;
- Kam tečie miliónová podpora pre solárne elektrárne a ako z nej ťažia oligarchovia Brhel či Világi - ICJK, 17/10/2021
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