"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Solar power falters in Spain: Is this lights out?

The solar industry is bleating because the Spanish Government has cut solar rebates to meet EU debt reduction guidelines. With Ireland under the pump, Portugal and Spain are the next financial dominos to fall unless drastic action is taken. The Spanish experience should sound a warning to other governments going down the same path. 

A recent study showed that Spain stands to lose €4.9bn until 2020 as well as 40,000 "quality and stable" jobs because of the new law. However, if it where to change the legislation and boost tariffs, 1000 - 1500 MW of solar generating capacity could be installed annually, resulting in as much as €14bn in proceeds. Proceeds would come from the reduced need to import energy from neighboring countries, CO2 reduction benefits, higher tax revenues, labor social security contributions and other energy distribution and transport savings.
This is a complete flight from reality - the reality that the industry is being closed down because of the tremendous cost , not because it is making money. 
Still, many companies whose business depends on ground-mounted projects will need to look for opportunities elsewhere. And given, their know-how and technological expertise, this should be feasible, industry participants say. These firms are expected to firm up markets in places such as Italy, France, Germany, Eastern Europe and the U.S. where ground-mounted projects are still viable.
Viable in Greenspeak means propped up by buckets of taxpayer's money. Solar is about to rival ethanol as a failed Green idea as more and more governments are following Spain as consumers rise up over exorbitant and unnecessary electrical energy costs!

1 comment:

  1. In the past three years I've spoken to a score of companies in the EU about how to manage PV arrays and I've uniformly relagated all of them to the "low prioity, will never happen" pile.

    It's clear to anyone not taking a grant that this industry is so heavily subsidised that it was not and is never likely to be, enconomically viable.

    There are masses of these things in Germany (heavy government subsidies again), it's only a matter of time before they realise the true cost there, I wonder how that will pan out?

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