Spain stops subsidies for 350 solar plants

A spokesperson for Spanish PV association APPA (Asociación de Productores de Energías Renovables) tells pv magazine that out of the 55,000 PV installations in the country, CNE suspected that around 9,000 had lied about when they were generating electricity.

A CNE spokesperson adds that under the Royal Decree 1003/2010, CNE requested information from 9,042 PV plants, in order to ascertain if they had installed the necessary equipment for the production of electricity by September 30, 2008.

"350 have not established the necessary facilities," states the spokesperson. Therefore, the CNE has suspended payment of incentives to the 350 PV installations.

While it is believed that either construction on many of the plants in question was not finished at the time the installers said it was, or the plants were not properly registered, the APPA spokesperson says that in some instances it may simply be the case that there was a fault with the electricity operator, and not the actual solar plant.

To avoid being prosecuted, the parties of the 350 plants affected by the subsidy suspension now have to present evidence demonstrating that they were in fact operational at the time they said they were. It is unclear how long they have to do this.

It was announced last July that a new decree "Fraude Fotovoltaico" was presented to the country’s Council of Ministers. Under it, around 800 megawatts of installed outdoor PV plants suspected of having swindled the feed-in tariff specified in the Real Decreto (RD) 661/2007 prior to September 28, 2008, were to be examined.

It was also said that anyone found guilty of irregularities would have to pay back any remuneration received since September 2008 – along with interest – and would only be allowed to sell electricity at the market price, which was, in Spain last July, 3.6 euro cents.

Additionally, it was reported that if the plant operator wanted to return to the remuneration system, he would have take a seat at the back of the award placement rounds and wait up to three years for a new feed-in permit. The plants would also be entered into a special public register.