Eurosolar and the local energy cooperative Som Energia organized a protest this week at a Modelo prison in Barcelona regarding Spanish solar policies. Reportedly, as part of the protest, the solar workers and advocates contended that they would “hand themselves in,” as they would declare themselves “guilty” of “using photovoltaics for saving electricity generation made from dirty fossil fuels and nuclear energy.”
Solar power has gone from having great support in the sunny and hot country of Spain to having solar incentives pulled out from underneath consumers suddenly, and even retroactively! It has done great damage not only to the solar industry in Spain but also to Spain’s reputation among investors of all sorts. The last thing an investor wants to see is a government go and retroactively change a policy it had implemented in a way that would hurt people who made financial decisions based on that policy.
One particular policy change that the solar advocates were protesting was the policy that makes it illegal to consume solar power not generated by the country’s oligopoly of energy companies, with fines for doing so of up to €30 million ($40 million).
A statement read at the solar protest and included on the solar advocates’ website stated: “The criminalisation of the use of solar electricity for those citizens who want to produce their own energy is a direct attack on human rights and on energy democracy, thus preventing anyone from contributing to reducing emissions to avoid climate change.”