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Demand soars for Swedish solar panel subsidies

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Demand soars for Swedish solar panel subsidies
07:55 CEST+02:00
Subsidies on offer to Swedes to help cover the cost of installing solar panels have proven more popular than government officials expected.

A week after the the start of the programme, applications have come in requesting two times the amount of money set aside this for the programme this year.

Starting July 1st, Sweden launched a new set of economic supports to defray the cost of installing solar panels.

The plan allows for companies, organizations, and individuals to seek funds covering up to 60 percent of the investment cost associated with setting up the panels.

For 2009, the government allotted 50 million kronor ($6.3 million). For 2010 and 2011, an additional 50 million kronor per year will be set aside for the programme.

In the first week that Sweden's county administrative boards started accepting applications for the funds, the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten) considers the new programme a success.

Already more than 100 applications have been received requesting a total of 100 million kronor.

The agency's Linus Palmblad thinks one explanation for why interest has been so high is that Swedes knew about the programme ahead of its launch.

“Previously there was support for solar cells on public buildings which expired at the turn of the year. I think that there were many who missed the last round and still had plans ready to go,” he told the TT news agency.

At the end of August, the Energy Agency will decide how the money will be distributed to the county administrative boards.

The subsidies can be used for work started on July 1st of this year and will be completed by December 31st, 2011.

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