A curious thing is happening in the battle on carbon. Solar panels are finally becoming cheap enough and efficient enough to warrant usage, without government subsidies, at least in sunny places.

Everyone should be happy. Right?

Instead we have tariffs, fees, and taxes on those who use solar panels.

In effect, when solar energy made no economic sense, companies received subsidies, now that solar makes sense, many governments want nothing to do with it.

Solar Energy Storage is Worse Than Nuclear Spillage

In sunny Spain, Solar Energy Storage is Worse Than Nuclear Spillage

Storing solar energy in a battery in Spain is more criminal than spilling radioactive waste. That’s the implied message written between the lines of a recently drafted law poised for fast-track approval by the government of Spain. Proposed fines for residential and SME use of solar energy self-consumption will be as high as €60 million ($67.7 million).

Spain’s “Ideological Campaign Against Solar”

Speaking recently to PV Tech, Union Espanola Fotovoltaico (UNEF), the PV Association of Spain, stated that “this would be the only self-consumption law in the world created only to prohibit the development of self-consumption.”

UNEF added that Spain’s new law is “retroactive” because if projects do not fit within the new parameters they will become illegal, even if already legally approved. Specifically, the new law requires that the owner and consumer must be the same person, and installations may no longer exceed 100 kW. Infringements will be treated very seriously, resulting in the maximum fines of up to €60 million ($67.7 million). This amount is twice as high as the penalty for causing a leak of radioactive waste in Spain, currently set at €30 million ($33.85 million).

The new levy on solar energy self-consumption from a grid-connected owner’s storage unit will have a seriously negative impact on the solar installation payback period. SMEs using self-consumption are expected to have a lengthening of payback time from four to seven years. PV Tech also notes that taxation on “residential self-consumption of solar energy in Spain could increase payback time from around 16 years to 31 years.”

Solar Madness Arizona Style

Sunny Spain does not want solar, what about Arizona?

In sunny Arizona SolarCity Relocates 85 Workers, Citing Solar Fees

In the wake of Salt River Project’s recent solar rate hike, SolarCity Corp., the largest rooftop solar installer in the state, is relocating at least 85 of its 900 Arizona workers out of state, with more to come.

SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said Wednesday the SRP fees approved in February are too restrictive and eliminate the potential to save money with solar for nearly all customers.

“That is bad for the economy,” Rive said. “Arizona is the state with all the sun. All the other states (where we operate) are doubling their solar capacity, and Arizona is shrinking, which makes no sense.”

SRP officials in February approved a new rate plan for any new customers installing solar under which they will pay a monthly “demand charge” based on their highest 30-minute average demand of power from the grid during peak hours.

US Tariffs

Arizona depicts state level madness. Inquiring minds may be interested in what’s happening with recent events in solar energy at the US national level.

For the answer, please consider U.S. Revises Tariffs and Duties on Chinese Solar Imports.

The U.S. revised some taxes on solar products from certain companies in China to help thwart dumping amid a renewable-energy spat between the two nations.

Some units of Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., the second-largest solar manufacturer, received the lowest so-called anti-dumping rate, 0.79 percent. The rate for another group of companies including Canadian Solar Inc., JinkoSolar Holding Co. and some other Yingli units was set at 9.67 percent. Other companies will pay 239 percent.

Economically counterproductive tariffs have artificially made solar panel prices in the U.S. the most expensive in the world,” Shah said. CASE was formed to represent most of the U.S. solar industry against the petition.

Economic Madness

Does the Obama administration want clean energy or not?

All tariffs are economic madness. But 239 percent tariffs and even the average rate of 20.94% is especially inane. Do we want to reduce independence on carbon-based energy or not?

If China gave us free solar panels we would be crazy not to take them. At a cost of zero, they would truly be affordable. Numerous businesses would spring up installing them.

Hiring would increase. GDP would rise.

Instead, we have tariffs and additional fees on solar-based energy just as the technology is beneficial enough to use, on its own accord, without subsidies. This is economic madness.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock