Spanish associations to start legal action against PV FIT decreases

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The associations – ANPIER, APPA, Protermosolar and UNEF – have agreed to fight the government’s latest legislation (Royal Decree-Law no. 2/2013 (RD-L 2/2013) "in front of all national and international institutions," in order to denounce the lack of legal security for renewable energy investments in Spain.

The policies of the government in Madrid will starve the renewable energy sector of €500 million; at the same time, they will increase compensation to players in the conventional power segment by €1 billion, the groups warned on February 7.

In practice, the new decree – published in Spain’s state gazette BOE on February 1 – will see photovoltaic and other renewable energy plant operators receive FITs that are not adjusted in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), as was previously the case.

Instead, tariffs will be adjusted in accordance with a modified CPI that excludes prices of non-processed foods and energy products, "in order to utilize an index that is more stable and which is not affected by the volatility of non-processed food commodities and fuels."

The government expects the modification to save around €340 million annually. Spanish solar industry organization UNEF, which has criticized the move, calculates that while an inflationary compensation of plus 2.975% will be seen in 2013, the new one will see tariffs reduced by 0.028%.

"RD-L 2/2013 is a good example of the government’s energy policy. The new decree, as has become the norm, was not previously approved or even communicated to the sector. Minister Soria introduced [the latest] renewable sector regulation with retroactive implementation," stated the four groups in a statement released.

Harassment

Spain’s renewable energy developers have accused officials in Madrid of exposing the sector to a campaign of harassment and destabilization with the recent legislative changes, including: hourly production limits on the FIT (RD 1614/2010 and RD 14/2010); a moratorium (RD-L 1/2012) and setting of new taxes (Law 15/2012). "All these measures, plus the new RD-L 2/2013, have modified the original terms of investment in these technologies," say the associations.

"This new measure comes on top of a 30% cut in FITs that was approved by the previous government and a 7% tax on energy generation approved in December 2012, which will result in a 38% decrease of gross revenue for the sector," added ANPIER director Rafael Barrera Morcillo in a statement released on February 4. In it, he accused the government of acting "immorally and insensitively".

"A typical 60 kW [photovoltaic] plant that reported an annual profit of Euro9,000 based on regulations governing the sector back in 2007, will now incur an annual loss in excess of Euro8,000 based on the retroactive application of rules introduced in 2010 and the new 7% tax rate. On top of that, we now add the change to the CPI, which will not be updated based on actual inflation," continued Morcillo.

ANPIER also announced that, according to its calculations, FITs for photovoltaic plants would remain unchanged in 2013, based on the newly revised method of calculating the CPI for the renewable energy sector.

Edited by Becky Beetz.