Spain Considers Taxing the Sun

Spain Considers Taxing the Sun

How solar panels became “toxic assets”

Adan Salazar Oct. 8, 2013

You know the Spanish economy is in dire straits when politicians propose a tax on the sun.

Far from rewarding enterprising citizens by offering net metering rebates, Spain is considering a more ass-backwards approach by instead taxing those who would dare take it upon themselves to produce their own energy.


In alleged efforts to tackle a debt mountain of $35 billion, Spain’s energy sector wants solar panel users to pay a “backup toll,” essentially forcing people who use solar panels to pay for “self-consumption.”

“We will be the only country in the world charging for the use of the sun,” the director of a Spanish sustainable energy firm named SEBA, Jaume Serrasolses, told the BBC. “Strange things are happening in Spain. This is one of them.”

Those who produce their own energy through solar panels typically accrue enough savings to pay them off within eight years. The new solar tax would ensure that timeline extends to 25 years.

The logic behind the proposal is that with increased “’self-consumption,’ the income for conventional energy systems will decrease, but grid maintenance will cost the same,” according to the BBC.

“If I produce my own energy, but am connected to the grid, having the backup in case my production fails, I have to contribute to the cost of the entire system,” Energy Secretary Alberto Nadal explained.

In other words, even though the Spanish government was responsible for a massive campaign six years ago promoting solar energy, the people that actually jumped on the initiative are now burning holes in the pockets of Spain’s five biggest energy companies – and the taxpayers must once again come to the rescue.

Dutch lawyer Piet Holtrop has assumed the task of defending over 1,000 people who, due to the proposed tax, are now in danger of holding “toxic assets” and even losing their homes.

“The majority are people like your or my parents who at one time had savings and wanted to make an investment with a better return,” Holtrop says.

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