Doubling of ‘Sun Tax’ in Balearic Islands branded ‘unjustifiable’

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Flickr: Calvin Smith

The tax on solar self-consumption in the Balearic Islands of Spain has been doubled, causing uproar from Spain’s PV industry association UNEF.

From 1 January this year, the roughly 300-400 Balearic self-consumption solar systems in Ibiza, Minorca, Majorca and Formentera, have had to pay an average toll of ‎€40/MWh, up from the previous ‎€19/MWh, due to a ministerial order.

UNEF’s representative in the Balearic Islands, Rafael Puigcercós, said self-consumers were being “punished” with this toll, which will also discourage those who had planned investments in solar systems from going ahead with their projects.

The association also claimed it was an “unjustifiable error”, causing uncertainty for investors by modifying the normative framework for self-consumption.

Renewables account for just 3% of the Balearic Islands' energy mix, which is well below its 20% by 2020 targets. Moreover, UNEF said it is tricky to implement large-scale solar and wind installations on the islands due to scarce land and protected areas, which means “self-consumption represents the safest route for the development of technologies of renewable electricity production”.

UNEF highlighted the need to regain legal certainty and recognise self-consumption as a “civic right” and said the ministerial order showed a “lack of commitment in the fight against climate change”.

While the puntive 'sun tax' on self-consumption has been at the centre of a bitter fight in Spain over the last few year, the new minority government could see the end of the tax since all the other parties in the majority have agreed to end to it.

Meanwhile, Spain's energy ministry has confirmed that a large-scale renewables auction will take place in Q1 this year, forming part of 3GW auction plans in the first half of 2017.

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