Spanish government plans to tax sunlight

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THE Spanish government is planning to tax households that produce their own energy through solar power and store some of it using batteries.
The Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism has prepared a draught decree that would see a new fee designed to discourage the use of solar charged batteries or other storage systems by people who produce their own electricity, Spanish daily El Pais said.
Users of solar or photovoltaic panel systems that charge batteries will be targeted by the new rules. These self-reliant consumers will not be able to use products such as the Powerwall battery recently launched by car manufacturer and energy-storage company Tesla.
Moreover, they could find themselves being penalised additionally for the storage systems that come included with the latest generation of solar panels.
If you live in the Campo, however, you may escape the ´tax on Sunlight´ as only off-grid consumers who have their own, completely independent energy-production systems will be able to use batteries without being penalised.
The tax will only apply to systems that use batteries to store the sun’s power – direct usage, or instantaneous consumption equipment will not be affected.
This enormous U-turn in the Spanish government’s attitude toward solar energy policy in the last five years is in stark contrast to other European countries, such as Germany, which is encouraging the use of solar panels with batteries.
To rub salt in the wound, and to further discourage self-production by anybody who previously invested in solar systems for their home after being encouraged to do so, the draft legislation also makes it clear that any energy surplus that individual self-producers feed back into the grid will not result in any monetary benefits.
The exception to that rule being businesses who are high voltage customers, who will be allowed to turn a profit on their surplus.
Since 2010, when Prime Minister Rajoy upset the applecart with international investors by announcing cuts to subsidies for renewables as part of a review of energy policies, the government’s view towards solar power appears to have soured.
In 2011 the Emirate of Abu Dhabi threatened to sue Spain over its reduction of premiums for solar thermal energy. Previously, a lawsuit from 14 photovoltaic renewable energy producers, who complained that the Spanish government had unfairly changed the rules of the game, was rejected by the Supreme Court.

28 COMMENTS

  1. What is stopping people from simply going off-grid then? I myself live in Norway where electricity is mostly used for heating in the winter when there’s just a few hours of sun each day, and you obiously can’t store half a years worth of energy in a battery. In Spain i’d guess energy use peaks when the sun is most intensive, making the battery capacity requirements very low. So why stay connected?

  2. Great way to NOT decrease CO2 emissions. Great way to keep businesses away from a irrational socialist country. This shows that it is extremely risky to make investments in Spain, since the rules of the game can change at any time into any crazy rules. Fucking idiots. I hope Spains economy gets completely destroyed.

  3. [quote]Great way to NOT decrease CO2 emissions. Great way to keep businesses away from a irrational socialist country. This shows that it is extremely risky to make investments in Spain, since the rules of the game can change at any time into any crazy rules. Fucking idiots. I hope Spains economy gets completely destroyed.[/quote]

    I will choose my words a little more carefully and simply ask WHY? I don’t understand the economic logic of penalising home owners who produce their own power. Dare I assume there are vested interests here and that someone is not being honest? It suggests to me that someone wants to maintain a monopoly of power supply in Spain. As you have said I thought we were all into clean energy and reducing the carbon footprint. I can’t understand either why the EU doesn’t get involved. they seem to control the UK judicial system so why not Spain’s. Dare I mention FIFA? I wonder?

  4. theres a simple answer to this the Spanish government owes millions to French power producers so need the cash to pay this back – Next is the Tax charged on electric use that Spain need to cover the shortfalls they have ….

    As a homeowner I was going to install panels as the payback due to VERY high electricity costs in Spain was only 7 yrs, so a good investment – NOT any more…

    Its crazy when you think I live in one of the sunniest counties in Europe and can’t do a thing about using that sunshine, when counties like the UK are offering deals to help people set systems up ….

    Sad to say but Spain is BACKWARD

  5. Perhaps gov’t wishes to discourage storage to instead insure that produced energy becomes available to the wider grid.
    Also, gov’t may be trying to avoid a flood of toxics once the batteries have ended useful their lifetime.
    But yes, I also suspect entrenched interests as well.
    Antonio
    california

  6. The reason why is because the government is desperate and the politicians ‘PSOE and PP mostly’ are not capable of running a country, they have a mindset from the past! They grab money from labour charges, taxes and social charges to cover the huge number of civil servants employed in Spain and are terrified to reduce these as they have no other means of bringing in that money to pay these people ‘includes themselves’, this in itself creates the biggest problem Spain has… unemployment. It just doesn’t make sense employing someone legally in Spain because of the costs which are massive compaired to say the UK where employment is booming, until Spain tackles this it will have the massive unemployment problems and so will continue to be in a total financial mess and not recover properly until sorted, this in itself will create even bigger problems in the future. Why would you pay a company who knock on your door asking to get paid money for work they have not done! Exactly, so why would a company be expected to pay a worker for 3.5 months of a year for not actually doing any work ‘XMas and summer extra payments, 1 month holiday and 14 paid bank holidays per year’ and on top of that be expected to contribute a huge amount of money towards that persons social security, pensions, tax for driving a car while working, tax for this, tax for that then have to pay someone between 25€ and 54€ a month to do the paperwork for that persons employment slip because the labour system is so complicated?

    BTW, Electric is actually quite cheap in Spain, if you look at your electric bill you will find that your electric consumption is only 25% cost of the total of your bill, 25% is tax and 50% is towards the deficit so 75% of you bill is nothing to do with the electric company charges… it is money for the Spanish government!

  7. I hope it will lead with increased speed to the situation were people produce electricity only for their own, off grid. This is a semy optimal situation but it will teach the corrupt power companies a lesson.

  8. We are all adjusted by the way the solar consumers are treated in Spain. The greedy electricity producers and government simply want to screw the poor people who wants to save money. The EU should sort this out.

  9. Vidiya, it is not the electric companies who are the problem, it is the government taxes that make electric expensive here. Don’t look for help from the EU as they will do nothing about it, in fact they probably commend the government for adding the charges and taxes to electric bills as it is a EU objective to push to tax as much as possible… I don’t understand why people still haven’t woken up to this!

  10. Yes the government puts a lot of tax on the electric bill but it is the electric companies in in Spain that pressured the govt to change the law with regards to domestic solar pv.
    Saying that they have a 25 billion defecit. Has anybody checked their accounts and how they worked that out? Anyone can cook up figures. the govts do that all the time.

  11. I have panels and live in Spain, my fingers and toes are crossed today in the hope that they will not vote it in but if they do then the EU will step in and block it!

  12. Don’t hold your breath on the EU doing much very quickly, as I understand it there is already a solar panel tax in Spain that the EU don’t seem to be doing anything about. Look at the illegal property issues in Andalucia and the inhumane way the Junta and town halls have dealt with some of those… not much interest shown by the EU there, politicians have been bringing it to Brussels attention by standing up in the EU parliament telling them about it for several years.

    The EU Parlament is a society of clowns that are riding a big long gravy train and they are not looking for too many stops to slow the train down from it’s trip so I doubt you will find much support there.

  13. The situation in Spain is simple:

    – Electric companies promise a gold retirement to politics
    – Politics regulate on their behalf.
    – Politics got retired.
    – Politics have the normal pension plus the work in the electric companies (although is not a real job, they do nothing, just get paid for their past favors).
    – Citizens pay more and more every year.
    – Citizens are penalized for using sunlight.
    – Start all over again with the new “elected” politics.

    (Note: this also works with gas companies, phone companies, water companies, etc.).

    Sorry about my grammar, I’m in a hurry…

  14. Alberto, It is the Spanish people that need to try and change this… not an easy feat unfortunately as corruption is rife in Spain and unfortunately the politicians are the ones that sow the seeds and it is the Spanish people that need to stand up and broadcast these issues and vote for other politicians but as I said I do understand there is not a lot of options out there that would be much better. We have a saying in English: It is a case of the lunatics running the asylum! You could also say: It is a case of the inmates running the jail! Basically it means that nothing will change while those responsible are running things… so the Spanish have a massive uphill struggle with these issues and sadly there are millions of Spanish people suffering because of the greedy behaviour of the politicians here, politicians who do not care about their country folk, just themselves. Good luck!

  15. [quote]What is stopping people from simply going off-grid then? I myself live in Norway where electricity is mostly used for heating in the winter when there’s just a few hours of sun each day, and you obiously can’t store half a years worth of energy in a battery. In Spain i’d guess energy use peaks when the sun is most intensive, making the battery capacity requirements very low. So why stay connected?[/quote]

    This is last years news and legislation has been passed now to allow people to generate up to 10kw for personal use. Most people as I understand it don’t use batteries anyway as they are very expensive but eh use of daytime sunlight is free as far as I know!

  16. It’s funny! I’m not a lawyer but I guess that taxing something means that I need to have rights on it or I need to own it.
    …Nobody owns the sun! So taxing it would not be legal. Also the TVA argument is not suffient here. The electricity bills are with TVA. Claiming that the government loses this TVA when people producing their own electricity is wrong, because buying a solar system is also with TVA and amortising the system takes around ten years.

  17. [quote][quote]What is stopping people from simply going off-grid then? I myself live in Norway where electricity is mostly used for heating in the winter when there’s just a few hours of sun each day, and you obiously can’t store half a years worth of energy in a battery. In Spain i’d guess energy use peaks when the sun is most intensive, making the battery capacity requirements very low. So why stay connected?[/quote]

    This is last years news and legislation has been passed now to allow people to generate up to 10kw for personal use. Most people as I understand it don’t use batteries anyway as they are very expensive but eh use of daytime sunlight is free as far as I know![/quote] any idea where I can find a copy of this legislation? I’ve been told by numerous people that solar power is taxed to an unaffordable leve and batteries are in fact illegal her in Spain.

  18. Furthermore yesterday (27th) on the BBC’s computer programme CLICK it was announced that we are to the see the imminent launch of mobile phones that self-charge from sunlight !

    We must wait patiently for the judgement of the Spanish government !

    Will these phones be taxed – or simply banned ???

  19. i guess that only a small proportion of the spanish population are ‘rural’ enough so can go off grid, but for those that can let us ask china to give us some good panel prices for container loads. this is before the gov’t puts a whopping import tax on them. the politicians are too thick to do that before the tax comes in.
    sounds like a business opportunity here but communities should form co-operatives to do it. spanish rurals are quite familiar with that in agriculture so why not solar?
    does the tax apply the solar powered steam turbines?, if not what a boost for that technology or even biodiesel 24v gensets.
    entrepreneurs get busy….!

  20. To help understand options others have put forward: Spains politicians actually protect the national companies. Zapetero invested a huge amount of money in green energy and promoted its use, the current government has not only taken away financial incentives to generate solar power but are now taxing its use as this article informs. It is not the sun that is being taxed it is the appliances that generate electric from the sun although that has given it the “taxing the sun” phrase. Currently is generally not legal to use batteries, extra electric generated is fed back into the grid.

    El Pais. a Spanish newspaper wrote a couple of small articles on solar panels and storage from them, it’s in Spanish but I see if you enter the following into Google it will return the English translations, “Spain turns its back on the sun, El Pais” and another or storing green energy “Government to tax consumers who store their own renewable energy, El Pais”.

    For those who don’t know how things work in Spain it is generally simple”.

    1) Spanish politicians are involved in large and national companies, banks, electric and phone companies, that gives them power to do basically as they want to protect themselves and is the reason they are there.

    2) Current Spanish politicians mindset is from the past. They only think of how they can help themselves and not the people or the country although they try to paint it that they are doing right for the people! A country in 2016 run like it is in 1950’s 😉

  21. I suppose it is too much to expect the government to fine any electricity companies if they use so much as 1 watt of power produced by private solar, in a pumped hydro storage facility.

  22. As far as I know it is compulsory to use a grid supply if one is available and only remote properties can use green electric and get away without being taxed on its use.

    You are obliged to feed excess green electricity back into the grid, as far as I know you can get a small amount back for this. You used to actually get a reasonable amount back as at one stage it was as much as it was being charged back at as far as I can remember. I believe now the paperwork is quite involved now to get the small amount back that is offered…. if you can’t stop people from claiming money back then add a load of bureaucracy! 😉 Seems to be the general trend in latter years in Spain.

    This is all as far as I know and remember but regulation changes here so much that you should really look into it to be sure

  23. Thanks for your reply Mike.

    The Spanish government are unbelievable.

    Is it also compulsory to use the bus or train if there is a stop in your town?

    Why would anyone have to be connected to the mains power supply if it was not wanted.

    Crazy

  24. [quote]It’s funny! I’m not a lawyer but I guess that taxing something means that I need to have rights on it or I need to own it.
    …Nobody owns the sun! So taxing it would not be legal. Also the TVA argument is not suffient here. The electricity bills are with TVA. Claiming that the government loses this TVA when people producing their own electricity is wrong, because buying a solar system is also with TVA and amortising the system takes around ten years.[/quote]

    Not quite, since they don’t say they tax sun, they will say they tax appliance usage. This is to protect lazy government workers working for energy sector, otherwise they will have to be fired. It’s funny how they criticize other nations bu they themselves support oil and coal industry

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