So we learn today that an amendment to the Solar Energy Bill will allow Inspectors from the Ministry of Industry to force their way onto private property if they see a solar panel, with just an authorisation from their boss.
Enmienda número 475 of the Proyecto de Ley del Sector Eléctrico allows the Ministry to send Inspectors with no prior appointment to private homes to revise the installation of solar panels, to ensure that they correspond with what has been declared by the home owner, and to make sure that all the energy being produced is being properly routed through the meter so they can tax it.
Consumer groups have already dubbed this an “allanamiento de morada” (the Spanish legal term for breaking and entering) and have promised to take this to the Constitutional Court, etc etc.
As the Amendment stands, if you send the Inspector off with a flea in his ear, he is entitled to come back with a search warrant and the Cops.
The Amendment also permits the Inspector to seize any documents or evidence he considers proves the law is being infringed.
The new law puts heavy taxes on domestic solar panel kits, and makes you pay a tax on all electricity you produce for home consumption. So if you buy a solar panel and use it to produce your own electricity, you either pay tax on everything you produce or you’re breaking the law, and could face fines of up to 60 million euros. Wow.
“We will be the only country in the world charging for the use of the sun,” says Jaume Serrasolses.
“Strange things are happening in Spain. This is one of them.”
Mr Serrasolses, the secretary of an association promoting the use of solar energy, SEBA, is referring to the government’s proposal for a tax solely on those who generate their own electricity.
They would pay a backup toll for the power from their solar panels, in addition to the access toll paid by everyone who consumes electricity from the conventional grid.
Solar energy is much more expensive than that mass-produced by large utilities”
Alberto Nadal Energy Secretary
Although the tolls vary, if you pay an access toll of 0.053 euros per kWh, you could face a backup toll of 0.068 euros per kWh.
The new tax would extend the average time it would take for solar panels to pay for themselves from eight to 25 years, according to the solar lobby.
The government says that with increasing “self-consumption”, the income for conventional energy systems will decrease, but grid maintenance will cost the same.
“If I produce my own energy, but am connected to the grid, having the backup in case my production fails, I have to contribute to the cost of the entire system,” says Energy Secretary Alberto Nadal.
The government is hoping the energy reform will settle a debt of 26bn euros (£22bn; $35bn), which has built up over years as a result of regulating energy costs and prices.