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IPVIC: Solar arbitration commencing today

Prague, May 9, 2013 – Eight international investors associated in International PhotoVoltaic Investors Club (IPVIC) filed a notice of arbitration against the Czech Republic today. IPVIC members claim indemnification of severe financial damages caused to its members by the introduction of retroactive and discriminatory measures, such as a solar levy of 26% on the revenues of solar installations. An incentive regime and several tax provisions were originally introduced by the Czech government to raise the percentage of renewable energy in the Czech Republic and, therefore, to lure foreign capital to be invested inter alia in photovoltaic projects in the country.

“The Czech government left us with no other option,” said Frank Schulte, IPVIC’s General Secretary. “Despite our efforts in the past one year we could not come to an amicable solution. Considering the severe damages to date and the threats of further discriminatory and retroactive steps against our industry that the Czech government is contemplating, we are forced to protect our investments in an international arbitration,” Schulte continued. The arbitration claim is based on specific stipulations in bilateral treaties on the promotion and protection of investments and the Energy Charter Treaty.

About IPVIC

International PhotoVoltaic Investors Club (IPVIC) is an association of international investors in photovoltaic energy. The membership consists among others from German companies Voltaic Network GmbH, ANTARIS Solar GmbH and Photovoltaik Knopf Betriebs-GmbH, Luxembourg-based company Radiance Energy Holding, Netherlands-based NATLAND Investment Group N.V. and I.C.W. Europe Investments Ltd. from the UK. For more information on IPVIC and its positions please visit www.ipvic.net.

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IPVIC: Solar arbitration will be filed early next year

Prague/Aachen December 19, 2012 – International photovoltaic investors in the Czech market associated in IPVIC will file for arbitration with the Czech Republic in Q1 2013, the group’s Secretary General Frank Schulte announced today. The investors will arbitrate the severe financial damage caused to them by the introduction of the legislation imposing a retroactive and discriminatory solar levy of 26% on the revenues of solar installations. The basis of the claims are specific stipulations anchored in individual bilateral treaties on protection of investments in the Czech Republic and the Energy Charter Treaty.

“In the second half of 2012, during our arbitration filing preparation, we were still hoping for an amicable solution with the Czech government,” said Frank Schulte. “However, the government has not responded to our approaches and we have noted that the government is considering further extension of discriminatory and retroactive steps against our industry despite the significant financial means committed through bona fide investments in line with Czech law,” continued Schulte.

The arbitration proceedings will be held in line with international rules of arbitration. The arbitration will be filed for early next year and an outcome can be expected in 2014.

International PhotoVoltaic Investors Club (IPVIC) is an association of international investors in photovoltaic energy. The membership consists among others from German companies Voltaic Network GmbH, ANTARIS Solar GmbH and Photovoltaik Knopf Betriebs-GmbH, German private investor Milos Schubert, Luxembourg-based company Radiance Energy Holding backed by leading Central European fund investor Mid Europa and I.C.W. Europe Investments Ltd. from the UK. IPVIC’s positions are available at www.ipvic.net.

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International solar arbitrations not a threat but reality

Prague/Brussels May 9, 2012 – On behalf of eleven IPVIC members, Frank Schulte, the association’s Secretary General, informed the Czech Ministry of Finance of concrete legal steps to commence international arbitration proceedings against the Czech Republic. These are based on the grounds of severe financial damage caused to foreign investors by unfair, retroactive legislation imposing a special levy of 26% on the solar installations’ revenue. The formal arbitration filing is expected within six to eight weeks.

“The grace periods are over for all of the claimants,” said Frank Schulte. “Through recent statements by government officials and the quasi-independent ERO it has also become obvious that the Czech state, contrary to international trends, intends to further hamper the operation and development of both existing and new solar installations. It does so regardless of severe damages caused to individuals and companies who committed significant financial means into projects fully corresponding with Czech legislation valid at the time of bona fide investments,” Schulte elaborated.

The power plants of the international investors entering into arbitration have a combined installed capacity of 80 MWp. The precise amount of damages for the arbitration proceedings will be calculated by an independent valuation expert. The claims are based on bilateral treaties on investment protection.

International PhotoVoltaic Investors Club (IPVIC) is an association of international and domestic investors in photovoltaic energy. The membership consists among others of Czech-based Ren Power, German private investor Milos Schubert, German Voltaic Network GmbH and Antaris Solar, Luxembourg-based company Radiance Energy Holding and I.C.W. Europe Investments Ltd. from the UK. The installed capacity of their solar projects is 115 MWp. IPVIC’s positions are available at www.ipvic.net.

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Solar investors react to Government estimates of potential arbitration liability; again invite the Government to talk

Prague June 13, 2011 – It was recently reported that the Czech Ministry of Finance is seeking authority to appoint legal counsel to represent it in connection with claims notified by investors in the photovoltaic industry.  In the report, reference is made to quite significant sums, up to CZK 250 billion, as estimates of overall potential liability for the “solar arbitrations.”

“I do not recognize those figures. They did not come from us,” said Frank Schulte, General Secretary of IPVIC and CEO of Voltaic Network GmbH, one of the companies that have already sent a trigger letter to the Czech government. He noted that even by government estimates the total solar levy to be charged annually by the government is about CZK 4.2 billion under last year’s law, saying “The potential claims by international investors will be claims for amounts commensurate with the damage incurred, no more. The IPVIC members who have notified the Government of a potential claim are currently observing the periods provided for in the relevant treaties for efforts to negotiate a settlement, so they have not yet quantified any claim for damages.”

With respect to those efforts at negotiation, Schulte said that IPVIC members have not yet heard anything from the Government about how the Government plans to rectify the situation and restore the trust in the stability and predictability of the Czech economic environment and the Czech solar sector in particular. “That is unfortunate,” he added, noting that “As we told the Government when giving notice of claims, IPVIC members stand ready to engage in constructive discussions if the Government is willing to initiate them.”

International PhotoVoltaic Investors Club (IPVIC) is an association of international and domestic investors in photovoltaic energy. IPVIC members include a number of individual entrepreneurs and small and medium sized enterprises. Among the member companies are the German firm Voltaic Network GmbH, the German private investor Milos Schubert, the Luxembourg-based company Radiance Energy Holding, the Swiss firm Antaris Solar and the Czech company Ren Power. In May 2011, the number of IPVIC members reached 20 companies. Their solar projects have the installed capacity of 140 MWp.

IPVIC has appointed the law firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Glatzova & Co. to represent them in the legal aspects of their discussions with the Czech state regarding the recent dramatic retroactive changes to the legal and regulatory framework for the solar sector. Donath Business & Media (DBM) is the association’s media representative.

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Solar shining on the web, otherwise overcast

Prague May 31, 2011 – International PhotoVoltaic Investors Club (IPVIC), which brings together international and domestic investors in the area of solar energy production in the Czech Republic, launched its website at www.rananasolar.cz today. It contains interesting information about photovoltaic in the Czech Republic and in the world, and offers a comprehensive review of critical retroactive legislative changes.

“There are no solar barons as legitimate investors into Czech solar energy business are often depicted,” said Frank Schulte, General Secretary of the IPVIC and CEO of Voltaic Network. “It is also the aim of the newly launched ‘rananasolar’ website to educate and explain the current state of affairs. Blaming the energy price hikes on renewable sources of energy only is shortsighted and simply wrong. We truly believe that renewable energies are the future,” Mr. Schulte explained.

Several international IPVIC members sent their trigger letters to Czech government authorities announcing the existence of a dispute regarding damages, which arose from last year’s sudden legislative changes. That is, according to international law, the first step towards the solution of the dispute.

International PhotoVoltaic Investors Club (IPVIC) is an association of international and domestic investors in photovoltaic energy. The membership consists among others from Czech–based Ren Power, German private investor Milos Schubert, German Voltaic Network GmbH and Photovoltaik Knopf Betriebs-GmbH, Luxembourg-based company Radiance Energy Holding and Antaris Solar from Switzerland to I.C.W. Europe Investments Ltd. from the UK. By the end of May 2011, the number of members of the association has reached 20 companies. The installed capacity of their solar projects is 140 MWp.

IPVIC has appointed the law firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Glatzova & Co. to represent them in the legal aspects of their discussions with the Czech state regarding the recent dramatic retroactive changes to the legal and regulatory framework for the solar sector. Donath Business & Media (DBM) is the association’s media representative.

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