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Spain Cuts Funding For More Solar Plants

Spain Cuts Funding For More Solar Plants

Spain, a country that many felt was leading the global renewable energy race, recently suspended subsidies to 143 solar plants for failure to show that they were operational before state funding was slashed three years ago.

In 2008, Spain became the world’s biggest solar power market, and investors rushed to take advantage of generous subsidies before the government capped them in September of that year.

In Spain, solar plants receive preferential “feed-in tariffs” designed to make it gradually competitive with power generated by burning gas or coal, according to Reuters UK.

Spain’s National Energy Commission (CNE) said the 143 newly suspended plants generated 90 megawatts between them, compared to the 4,000 MW currently provided by plants that remain in service.

This decision added to 808 plants which have been provisionally suspended as part of a review of more than 9,000 plants under way since last year.

Reuters reports that aid may now be paid to just 500 megawatts a year of new photovoltaic plants — which directly convert sunlight into electricity — down from about 2,400 MW built in 2008.

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Image: Forum Solar Array in Barcelona, Spain
Credit: Flickr - Lauren Manning

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1:56PM PDT on May 28, 2011

I'm really sorry to hear that Spain is cutting these subsidies, not least because they no doubt needed the money to support their banks (who in their time so badly mismanaged their own resources). We have feed-in tariffs in the UK too, these allow private householders who qualify (ie they have a south facing roof) to get PV panels fitted and maintained for free (and to use the electricity they produce) .The UK doesn't enjoy the same amount of sun shine as Spain (the panels only produce at full capacity in full sun) but every little helps. The 16 panels on my roof produce around 1 - 2 kW per hour (3kW when the sun shines). The feed in tariff (and the ever rising cost of electricity) means that the company who fitted it will, under the UK scheme, get their money back in 14 years, after 25 years the PV panels become mine. Public money has been put in to making this scheme work, possibly to ensure that the UK complies with agreed emission targets but as we are expecting another 15%+ rise in electricity prices this year I'll take any free and green) electricity I can get.

1:20PM PDT on May 28, 2011

Spain has at least been trying. I wish we could do the same in the US. Why do we have to give so much money to the oil companies

2:01PM PDT on May 26, 2011

Well at least they tried! ?Which country brought the whole world in this misery.
Now they have to cu spending. If ever there is a recovery, they might come back to their program.
Will the US do the same? Not sure!

11:39PM PDT on May 24, 2011

yes!!!, go spain go

9:52AM PDT on May 24, 2011

Too little too late!!

I dont understand, if America was sincere about its efforts (and it could have) changed the world as we all know it. Certinaly one expects something useful from the world's leading nation to do something positive and meaningful for the world so the the rest of the world can say America really was the hero for future generations, outside of Hollywood.

But in reality it turned out no more differnt than the Nazis 70 years ago, gave the world not only pollution but war, irresponsibility when in power and urban legends about people who want to destroy American freedom.

If the money spent on the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Syria and the rest of mid-east were spent on human welfare, i assure you that there would be no more hunger, poverty, unemployment, homelessness in the world today.

Need i say where we would be if this money was spent on the environment or animal welfare and protection of endangered animals.

9:51AM PDT on May 24, 2011

I implore everyone to see the documentary:

"Zeitgeist: moving forward"

it was released in January 2011 and has some excellent solutions to take the world forward in a truely new age. If there is a visionary here on care2, or if there is someone who feels we need to get out of this current mess but doesn't know how, i highly recommend this documentary.

And if you haven't seen their earlier documentaries they are:

"Zeitgeist" and ""Zeitgeist: Addendum."

You will thank me for it, i guarentee it.

9:14AM PDT on May 24, 2011

Like every where they have run out of other people's money

MAKE people responsible for what they spend...DONT expect to be bail out ALL of the time!!!!

7:50AM PDT on May 24, 2011

at least they have them. What does North America have?

3:32AM PDT on May 24, 2011

It takes some way to store power--either batteries or pump-storage--to integrate large amounts of sustainable electricity into the grid. It also helps to have both wind and solar because wind tends to blow more at night and solar power works only in the day-time.

8:56PM PDT on May 23, 2011

Spain ran out of money.

That is what happens when you decide to fund a program that really cannot work, assume that failure is for lack of funding, and then dump in more money until it works. This is why I tend to oppose pursuing projects which are doomed from the start. In this case the failure came from the fact that the technology to make a solar power-based grid does not exist. It looks good as long as you ignore the "technical details", (load-balancing, distribution, maintenance-problems, efficiency, etc.) but to put something into practice all those details must be addressed.

There is a place for solar power, but it is not on the general grid of a developed country. It is good for charging batteries to run very low-energy economies. For example, my former elementary-school principal was, as of a few years ago, running a program through the World Bank to bring solar power and laptops to remote villages in underdeveloped countries. She was setting up essentially modern schools through that to help bring those villages into the 21st century.

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