The new Energy Bill proposed by the Spanish Government will levy a series of taxes and amazingly expensive tariffs on home-owners who want to install their own solar panels or windmills, in an apparent attempt to stop citizens generating their own free electricity. The government is being accused of trying to tax citizens out of the market, forcing them to buy electricity from the National Grid instead.
Ironically enough, the last decade’s push for renewable energy has made the situation worse, as generous subsidies to windfarms and solar farms were in the long term uneconomic.
Spain’s broke and can’t pay this. So it’s responded by cutting the subsidies (which means, according to the industry, most small solar farms are looking at bankruptcy as they can’t service their debts at the new lower selling price) and putting up energy prices again and again and again.
The latest modification of your electricity bill means that the amount you pay for electricity is minimal – we are now paying more in base costs than for the energy we use. The end idea, according to the State, is that we all have to pay a large access quota and then electricity is quite cheap.
Meaning that cutting back on the energy we use won’t reduce our bills.
Back to the home energy production taxes and the (not yet implemented) new law:
The new law says you can now be fined up to 30 million euros for not registering your home solar panels on the national database (the new law makes no difference between home use and large corporations). This is to make sure we’re all on the database, and can be charged accordingly.
If you generate your own electricity you will now be forced to install a very expensive new meter, which is almost as expensive as a solar panel. This meter also records the amount that we generate and use ourselves, and charges us the tax on each kilowatt.
Meaning that if currently the average homeowner pays off his solar kit in 12 years, once the new law comes in, it will take us 23 years to pay it off and start seeing savings.
Oh, and if you already have such a kit installed – you also have to comply with the new laws.
From El Mundo:
The government’s energy reform has greatly angered the renewables industry. “Of all possible scenarios, this is the worst one,” says José Donoso, chairman of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (Unef), which represents 85 percent of the sector. “They haven’t approved anything specific yet on self-production but they’ve managed to kill it already.”
Donoso is referring to the increase in the fixed portion of electricity costs, which is set to rise 77 percent for a regular household bill, and even self-producers cannot avoid paying it. Meanwhile, the variable portion of the bill, representing actual use, goes down 23 percent. This is the part that renewables can reduce.
“Until now, expenditure was around 30 percent of fixed costs and 70 percent of variable costs. We are moving toward a 50-50 balance, which makes any initiative aimed at generating your own energy less attractive,” notes Ignacio Cruz, a researcher in the Renewable Energy division at the Center for Energy, Technology and Environmental Research (CIEMAT).