Spain suspends subsidies for 360 solar plants

Spanish regulators have suspended subsidies for 360 solar plants after they failed to prove their eligibility for the feed-in tariff (FiT), reports Bloomberg. The sanctioning brings the number of projects punished by the regulators to 1,919 and concludes the investigation into fraudulent subsidy claims within the country’s solar industry.

The project developers in question failed to prove their systems were capable of generating solar electricity by the September 30, 2008 deadline and therefore were not entitled to the highest consumer-subsidised tariff rate of €0.475 per kWh. In total, the regulators investigated 8,185 ground-mounted and rooftop solar systems.

At present, the suspensions are merely ‘precautionary’ until a final judgment is made, although 855 of the 1,919 system operators have already agreed not to challenge the regulator and accept a lower subsidised price of €0.326 per kWh. This amnesty agreement will protect them from the threat of losing their entire subsidy payment should they be found guilty of fraudulent claims.

Calls for an investigation into subsidy handouts first emerged after fraud allegations emerged in the media earlier this year.

Spain’s Government is currently attempting to reduce aid for many of its renewable-energy plants as a way to lower electricity costs for businesses and homes and also to help the economy emerge from its current recession.

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