Called a self-consumption decree in Spain, this new solar policy targeting solar PV electricity states that installations up to 100 kW provide electricity to the grid as a gift, receiving no compensation in return, and only a tax bill.
The only entities spared from this policy are smaller systems up to 10 kW, or plants located on islands off the Spanish coast.
According to Christian Roseland, writing for pvmagazine, the current center-right government in Spain is considered hostile to the solar industry in comparison to other European nations. But such a tax, while unpopular to solar energy proponents, has been viewed by proponents for some time as one step forward, Forbes has stated, for righting the nation’s solar fiscal woes:
“Spain is generating so much solar power, according to its government, that production capacity exceeds demand by more than 60%. That imbalance has created a problem for the government which now finds itself in debt to producers. And not by a little bit. The debt is said to have grown to nearly 26 billion euros ($34.73 billion US).”
These new fees will begin to be levied in six month’s time. Solar PV arrays under 10 kW and systems not on the Spanish mainland will be spared the generation charge, but will still be subject to a fixed charge per kW of capacity.
In opposition to the recommendation of the solar industry and the state council, these fees are levied not on the net balance, but on the total output of systems.
Additionally, PV systems up to 100 kW may not sell electricity, and will be required to donate this electricity to the grid free without compensation. Systems over 100 kW must registered in order to sell electricity on the spot market for the excess they produce.
According to Spanish news site Público, one of the few recommendations made by the State Council that was incorporated into the final text is that the use of batteries will not be banned. However, the use of batteries will not be allowed to lower the portion of the tax based on the capacity of solar PV systems.
Vocal opposition to the new solar policy has come from both the Association of Renewable Energy Producers (ANPIER) and the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF). ANPIER called the regulations a “perversion of Democracy”, while UNEF president Jorge Barredo added, the “unjustified sun tax” means independent solar system users will pay more charges for maintaining the grid than other users do, even though they use less of it.
This economic disincentive now taking place in Spain makes particularly bad news for a country that has been long regarded as a pioneering leader in the creation of a solar energy infrastructure.