How do you prevent the masses from going off-grid using increasingly cost competitive solar plus storage technology? In Spain, the government appears to be going for the stick approach, putting forward draft legislation last week that proposes a hefty fee for the use of batteries for residential solar self-consumption – and even more hefty fines for households that don’t comply.
The new charge would apply to grid-connected solar PV installations of up to 15kW, and would vary in cost depending on the size of the installation: from €8.9 (US$10) per kW for domestic consumers up to €36 (US$40.6) per kW for medium size businesses. Only off-grid PV systems would be exempt.
According to reports, the fee – which is being labelled “a tax on the sun” – could increase the payback time for a solar + storage system from around 16 years to 31 years. For SME’s, it would increase payback time from four to seven years.
Additional fines for infringement of the self-generation legislation, capped at €60 million (US$67.7 million), have also been proposed – an amount, as PV Tech has pointed out, that is double the fine for leaking radioactive nuclear waste (see PV Tech graph below).
As EuroWeekly notes, the “enormous U-turn” in Spain’s political attitude to solar in the last five years is in stark contrast to other European countries, like Germany, which is encouraging the use of solar panels with batteries.
The Spanish PV association, Union Espanola Foltovoltaico (UNEF), told PV Tech that this would be the only self-consumption law in the world created only to prohibit the development of self-consumption.
And to make it even more confusing, the new draft law also makes it clear that any excess energy solar households feed back into the grid will not result in any monetary benefits, with the exception of heavy consuming businesses, who will be allowed to turn a profit on their surplus generation.
It also puts a cap on installations at 100kW and the owner and consumer must be the same person, reports PV Tech.