• Spain edition
 
Spain's solar police to kick in your door
Solar energy RIP? Spain plans to slap huge fines on people who don't pay a new charge for homeowners who produce their own solar power. Photo: Cristina Quicler/AFP

Spain's solar police to kick in your door

Published: 12 Nov 2013 11:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Nov 2013 11:43 GMT+01:00

As if Spaniards had not already been dissuaded by the potential €60 million fines they face for illegally generating their own solar power, they now have to look forward to a knock on the door from the 'solar police'.

A change to the ruling Popular Party’s (PP) Energy Law allows inspectors to “raid” properties they are suspicious of, armed only with administrative authorization.

If the suspect denies entry, Spain’s Industry Department will then ask for a court order that guarantees inspectors access to the property alongside Spanish national police.

Officers will be able to seize all documents related to to energy consumption and seal off entry to the property.

Lawyers consulted by Spain's VozPopuli online newspaper raised serious doubts about whether the move was constitutional.

They also said it set a worrying precedent by obliging citizens to let inspectors enter a private residence.

All this means generating your own solar energy without paying for the privilege is a risky business now in Spain.

Whereas Spain once flung money at companies who set up solar power programmes in the country, it now plans to slap a fee on people who create their energy for personal consumption.

As the Wall Street Journal put it, Spain is punishing "a small but growing segment of the middle class" who have installed solar panels to generate their own electricity.

Forbes also slammed the Spanish government’s move back in August by saying, "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!'"

The PP’s plan is to raise cash to help pay off their 'tariff deficit', or the difference between the cost of operating the country's electricity grid and the money it rakes in.

"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," Australia's Business Spectator reported.

According to VozPopuli, the ‘payback’ to big energy companies has taken the form of this new Solar Energy Law.

This makes independent power generation by households one of the biggest financial risks Spaniards can currently take at a time when cutting costs is ever more necessary.

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Australia to welcome young Spanish workers

Australia to welcome young Spanish workers

Young Spaniards will soon be able to take advantage of Australia's Work and Holiday visa scheme to work in the Asia–Pacific nation, Spain's ambassador to the country has said. READ  

Firemen charge mum €90 to free trapped boy

Firemen charge mum €90 to free trapped boy

Residents in the historic Spanish city of Toledo are up in arms after their local fire-fighting squad charged a mother €90 ($118) for freeing her two-year-old son from some metal bars he had his head stuck in. READ  

Topless activists fling eggs in anti-rape demo
The women called out for “rapists to be castrated” and threw eggs against the building’s façade, as a symbol of men’s testicles being smashed. Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP

Topless activists fling eggs in anti-rape demo

Four bare-breasted Femen activists threw eggs at the Spanish Interior Ministry headquarters on Thursday to protest against the recent shelving of a gang rape case in Malaga. READ  

Catalonia set to legalize medical marijuana
An Israeli woman works on marijuana plants at Tikkun Olam greenhouse where the company grows medical cannabis. File photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP

Catalonia set to legalize medical marijuana

The Spanish region of Catalonia is finalizing plans to legalize medical marijuana, a move authorities say will not only aid patients but also help the region to crack down on its booming cannabis club scene. READ  

Spain's Tour so hot cyclists lose 4.5kg a day
Mercury rising: Spanish rider Alberto Contador had no problem doing the Ice Bucket Challenge as a way of cooling down after one of his races. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Spain's Tour so hot cyclists lose 4.5kg a day

Cyclists taking part in Spain's La Vuelta tour are having to endure such high temperatures in the summer heat they’re averaging 4.5kg (10 pounds) a day in weight loss through all the sweating. READ  

Consumer prices slide again in August

Consumer prices slide again in August

Spanish consumer prices fell again in August, dropping by 0.5 percent on an annual basis, preliminary figures from the national statistics institute showed Thursday, heightening concerns about deflation risk in the eurozone. READ  

Dead man mocks tax minister on gravestone
Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro enjoys lukewarm popularity in Spain, having come to be seen as the ‘austerity man’ behind public spending cuts. Photo: Frank Black Noir/Flickr

Dead man mocks tax minister on gravestone

A Spanish musician has mocked the country's finance minister Cristobal Montoro with a message he told his relatives to inscribe on his headstone. READ  

Brain drain
Jobless Spaniards face expulsion from Germany
Germany's conservative CSU party is leading the push for the tough new rules under the slogan "those who fly, lie". File photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP

Jobless Spaniards face expulsion from Germany

Germany on Wednesday announced new measures to stop EU citizens from abusing its social welfare system, a move which could have serious consequences for thousands of Spaniards looking for work in the country. READ  

Confirmed: Spain grew 0.6 percent in 2nd quarter

Confirmed: Spain grew 0.6 percent in 2nd quarter

Spain's economy grew by 0.6 percent in the second quarter compared with output in the previous three months, the fastest rate since 2007, the national statistics office said on Thursday in a further sign of recovery from recession. READ  

Ebola outbreak
Barcelona: Man cleared in latest Ebola scare
Medics in Portugal take part in a drill designed to transport people infected with the Ebola virus. Photo: Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP

Barcelona: Man cleared in latest Ebola scare

UPDATED: A 38-year-old from Guinea quarantined in Barcelona on Wednesday over fears he may test positive for the Ebola virus has been cleared of the disease. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Fashion fail: Zara pulls plug on 'Holocaust shirt' for kids
National
Man hurt as friend swaps ice bucket for plane
Spain 'would block independent Scotland from joining EU'
Politics
Spain 'would block independent Scotland from joining EU'
International
Spanish police mistake Morocco's king for people smuggler
What's On
What's on in Spain: September
Society
Miss Spain comes out of closet on Instagram
Travel
Top ten: Spain's best natural swimming pools
Property
'Dying' town flogs off land for €200 to woo new blood
National
Gays to blame for Spain's trillion euro debt: senator
Society
Spain's anti-rape guidelines: 1) Close your curtains
National
Woman on Madrid plane had 1.7kg coke in breasts
Health
'Spain's hospitals aren't ready for Ebola'
Travel
Twelve things tourists do that annoy Spaniards
National
Swiss sex tourists slapped with seatbelt fine
Features
Top ten 'English' words made in Spain: Part 2
International
'I hate the black man in the White House'
Travel
Top 10: Spanish tourist traps you should avoid
National
127 kg of cocaine found on navy training ship
National
Spain's 14-year-old jihadist girl locked up
International
Fox News names Penelope Cruz 'idiot of the week'
International
Spain pulls plug on weapons sales to Israel
Tech
Made in Spain: the ice cream that changes colour while you eat
National
Pic of the day: Spain dazzles in Nasa photo
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,646
jobs available