• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Spain's solar police to kick in your door

Alex Dunham · 12 Nov 2013, 11:43

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

"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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Sulking Ronaldo has to live with being subbed': Zidane
Ronaldo celebrates a goal before he was substituted in the game against Las Palmas. Photo: Desiree Martin/AFP

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insisted Cristiano Ronaldo has to learn to live with being substituted after the Portuguese striker sulked off the field.

Basques and Galicians vote to unblock Spain's deadlock
Partido Popular candidate Alberto Nunez Feijoo voted in the election on Sunday. Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP

Spain's Basque country and Galicia went to the polls Sunday in regional elections that may help unblock the long-lasting national political paralysis.

Feature
 Spanish cinema breaks taboo and talks ETA
A still from Justin Webster's documentary The End of ETA. Photo: The End of ETA

Documentaries on terror group ETA have been screened at San Sebastian film festival and met with applause, as the taboo fades.

 Spain's Socialists in crisis as political blockage takes toll
Pedro Sanchez has repeatedly said he won't support Rajoy. Photo: AFP

Spain's nine-month political paralysis is taking its toll on parties, and none more so than the Socialists who are facing a crisis, with talk of an imminent "coup" against leader Pedro Sanchez.

National anthem: Could Spain finally sing with one voice?
Spanish athletes have had to hum awkwardly for decades. Photo: AFP

Spain's parliament is being asked to consider a solution to one of nation's most enduring and embarrassing problems; what words to sing with the national anthem.

Spain's ten greatest parador hotels to visit this autumn
San Estevo parador in Galicia. Photo: rutea.es

Autumn is the perfect time to explore Spain's hidden corners and parador hopping is the best way to do it.

Spain's Basques go to polls as memories of violence fade
Basque regional president nationalist Inigo Urkullu (L) and Basque Nationalist Party-PNV's president Andoni Ortuzar (2nd L) in Bilbao. Photo: AFP

Could the results of the Basque elections have an impact on the national political deadlock?

Spanish parents call strike over too much homework
Do Spanish children get too much homework? Photo: AFP

Spanish parents have called for a “homework strike” to protest at the amount of extracurricular work they are expected to do with their children.

Family seeks funds for mother injured in Spanish bus crash
Julie Ann Fiegert was returning from a holiday of a lifetime. Photo: GoFundMe page

The family of an Australian woman left fighting for her life after a bus accident in Spain are trying to raise money for her medical expenses.

Second headless bison found at Spanish nature reserve

A mystery surrounding goings-on at a nature reserve in Spain deepened Thursday as a second European bison was found decapitated just days after staff discovered the headless body of the herd's dominant male.

National
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
International
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
National
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
National
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
International
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
Travel
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
International
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
Technology
Spanish team invents hands-free 'penis bidet'
National
In pics: Devastation caused by Costa Blanca wildfires
Society
Pregnant woman in niqab attacked by two men in Spain
National
Spanish café offers cut-price coffee to those with manners
Travel
What's on in Spain: September 2016
Travel
'We drank from animal troughs to survive'
National
Forest fires threaten Costa Blanca resort of Jávea
National
Loyal dog mounts vigil at hospital doors for sick owner
Politics
Five reasons why Spain's Socialists won't back Rajoy
National
It's a girl! Rare giant panda cub born in Madrid zoo
Culture
La Tomatina: Everything you need to know about epic fiesta
National
Shocking video shows torture of young calf during fiesta
Police launch appeal for Costa Blanca hit and run driver
Politics
What political deadlock? Spain economy forges ahead
Features
Eight reasons to spend your gap year exploring Spain
3,111
jobs available