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.

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