Copyright: zstock

Dark times ahead for Spanish solar power

Spain had one of the most ambitious strategies for solar power that saw it pushing ahead the rest of Europe in honing the ability to capture energy from the sun. However that plan has faultered as the Spanish government have cut the level of subsidies for all new and existing photovoltaic projects.

Last year, the solar photovoltaic industry in Spain received subsidies of €2,6 billion. The generous level of subsidies saw the solar industry in Spain grow much faster than anticipated creating a bill the country could not afford. Meanwhile, the coal and gas plants built in the last decade to deal with blackouts are losing money as they are not relied on so much but yet the government continues to keep them open to top up the renewable energy on cloudy days.

In Spain, the rift between the renewable lobby and the rest of the energy sector is deep – some are calling it a war. The solar companies plan to challenge the cuts in court, but by the time the case comes to conclusion it will likely be too late, with investors looking abroad for better opportunities. It looks like Spain pushed ahead a little too fast and now will suffer as it scales back government investments which will only serve to push companies out of the country.

Featured image credit: zstock via Shutterstock

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Leila Sattary

Leila is a freelance science writer specialising in science funding and research policy. She is a former editor of EuroScientist. She writes for a variety of online and print journals including news and features for Chemistry World, her Lab Rant column for Laboratory News and many more. In her day job she works as a Project Officer at the University of Oxford with particular interest in research policy, knowledge exchange and impact.
Leila Sattary

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