Spain’s solar producers to take government to court

Carlos Mateu, president of the Plataforma Legal Fotovoltaica (PLF), a platform to deal with juridical issues for owner of solar power installations, told pv magazine: "The first clause to be cancelled by the court shall be the reduction of the remuneration framework to 25 years."

The limitation Mateu refers to was introduced by the Spanish government together with its feed-in tariff (FIT) cuts, last November. It shall come into effect for all photovoltaics (PV) installations approved under royal decree 661/2007. According to the solar industry association AEF (Asociación Empresarial Fotovoltaica) almost 95 per cent of the existing Spanish PV installations were connected under this decree.

At the end of last month, the Spanish government also introduced a new limit on the maximum number of hours PV installations have the right to receive the FIT through a new royal decree, 14/2010. PLF has said it is currently waiting for the forthcoming congressional debate, where it hopes "substantial changes" will be made. "The Spanish Congress will debate the law around the end of January. We hope that this will lead into substantial changes," Mateu said. Together with three other solar und renewable energy associations, PLF has said it will send a letter to each delegate, in order to draw their attention to the needs of solar power producers.

Solar grinch

EuPD named Spain the solar grinch of 2011, after the government decided to make significant cut backs to subsidies for PV plants on Christmas Eve. According to Spain’s Deputy Industry Minister, Pedro Marin, these reductions are necessary to grant the government "some leeway" in keeping consumer energy prices at a moderate level, while Spain navigates its way through tough times of economic uncertainty.

However, others believe such changes are considered a breach of trust and will increase uncertainty throughout the whole renewable energies industry in Spain.

"Not only the PV industry and its directly or indirectly related spin off industries will suffer from the decision made in Madrid – millions of Spanish senior citizens and pensioners, as well as fund investors all over the world will feel the impact of this decision," stated Markus A.W. Hoehner, CEO of EuPD Research, based in Bonn, Germany.