02 August 2010

Spain proposes deep cuts to solar PV support

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Industry ministry announces plans to cut feed-in tariffs for photovoltaic installations by up to 45 per cent

The Spanish government yesterday announced plans to slash incentives for new solar photovoltaic (PV) installations by up to 45 per cent, although it appeared to edge away from proposals that would have resulted in reduced support for existing installations.

A statement from the Industry Ministry confirmed the government aims to cut feed-in tariffs for ground-based solar PV panels by 45 per cent, while also reducing support for large roof-based systems by 25 per cent and small roof-based systems by five per cent.

The draft proposals, which mirror similar cuts recently announced in Germany and Italy, have been sent to Spain's energy regulator for consultation.

The move was announced after talks between the government and energy firms over the scale of the cuts reportedly broke down last week.

The government has argued that the falling cost of solar panels means that the industry will be able to cope with reduced levels of support, and there were even suggestions that ministers could try to apply retroactive cuts and reduce incentive payments for existing solar PV installations in an attempt to curb rising Spanish energy bills.

The latest proposals only apply to new installations, but industry insiders have warned that the deep cuts could harm the development of Spain's booming solar industry.

The scale of the cuts strikes a sizeable contrast with the smaller-than-anticipated cuts to incentives for wind and solar thermal projects that the government announced last month.

A deal agreed between the Spanish Wind Energy Association, solar thermal power plant trade association Protermosolar and the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade resulted in relatively modest cuts to subsidies that will be phased in over three years.

(BusinessGreen)

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