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Spain, a country that once threw money at companies to encourage them to install solar panel farms around the country, is now charging anyone that wishes to produce their own solar power.
The country’s ruling Popular Party (PP) is looking for different ways to try and raise money to help pay off the massive tariff deficit, the difference between how much it costs to produce the country’s electricity and how much it earns, which has created a debt of some €26 billion.
Domestic solar power has come under close scrutiny, with all households wishing to produce their own power requiring official paid licenses. Anyone not paying for the privilege of creating their own solar power faces a maximum €60 million, and if that wasn’t enough Spanish citizens now also face the threat of ‘solar police’ coming to their door and asking to search the premises.
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Australia's Business Spectator wrote that, “imposed by decree, the reform aims to raise money for tackling a €26 billion debt to power producers which the state has built up over the years in regulating energy costs and prices.”
A recent change to the country’s energy laws allows solar inspectors to raid any property they believe might be making use of illegal solar panels. And if denied entry they can return with a court order allowing complete access to the property accompanied by the national police.
Spanish lawyers have warned that this sets a worrying precedent that almost forces people to let the inspectors into any private residence that they wish to view, and makes illegal solar power production one of the riskiest operations to get involved in.
Back in August Forbes wrote about the Spanish government that “you get the feeling that government officials were out of ideas, stared up at the sky one day and thought, 'I've got it! We’ll tax the sun!”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com