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