Spanish Senate raises energy tax

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After weeks of discussions, the Spanish Senate has voted in favour of increasing the percentage for the newly introduced tax, defined in the "Law of new measures on energetic sustainability," from 6 to 7%.

Consequently, from January 2013, every producer of electrical power in Spain will have to pay that amount of extra tax on income made from selling electricity. For owners of renewable energy plants, including solar, this means a reduction of FITs, by 7%.

"Although all energy producers will be charged by the same quota of 7% for renewable energies, it means another discrimination," Mischa Bechberger, Barcelona-based manager for International Affairs at renewable energy organisation APPA told pv magazine.

Indeed, while utilities might be able to share the new burden with the power consumer by raising electricity prices, the renewable community does not have such an instrument to transfer the costs, he argues.

Spanish photovoltaic organisation UNEF further fears the new tax will cause a rising number of bankruptcies among private solar power owners, with an increasing number of them unable to pay back their loans.

According to UNEF, after several rounds of retroactive cuts on remuneration since 2011, the overall reduction of the former guaranteed FITs now amounts to approximately 40%.

The new law has now to pass the Spanish Congress, where the conservative party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy holds the majority, which is expected to happen without any changes.

Edited by Becky Beetz.

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