Spain Supreme Court ruling ‘oxygen’ for future solar cases

The win for solar announced on 29 April has been welcomed by law firms and solar stakeholders. Credit: Evolutiza

The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that solar PV companies and investors should be compensated by the Spanish administration over historic amendments to the feed-in-tariff (FiT) policy for new installations.

The win for solar announced on 29 April has been welcomed by law firms and solar stakeholders, who claim it may set a precedent for future cases, in a nation where the majority of legal cases of late have seen solar losing out. Spanish law firm Evolutiza Lawyers and Tax Advisors was responsible for filing the appeals in defence of the PV investors.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

Daniel Pérez, attorney at Holtrop S.L.P, a law firm that has been heavily involved in other legal cases surrounding the Royal Decrees on solar, told PV Tech: “It is very good at least to have a partial win. But it is quite limited because it affects only one specific case, although it might be a precedent for future complaints.”

This is because the latest ruling only covers the moratorium on giving FiTs to new solar installations, which was a norm introduced by the Conservative Popular party after it came into power. Meanwhile, the ruling does not account for the retroactive cuts to the FiTs that were brought in for exiting installations.

Pérez said this means the compensation only covers investments made in presenting and promoting projects in planning, which is limited. Moreover most of the solar producers affected did not appeal because they saw that the first legal decisions surrounding the retroactive cuts to the FiT for existing installations had been lost.

Following the publication of Royal Decree Law 1/2012, which brought in the FiT changes, Evolutiza submitted claims for expenses and costs incurred by developers and PV investors, whose projects did not materialize. However the Cabinet dismissed the claims on 25 April 2014.

An appeal in the Supreme Court followed. Now the Spanish state has been forced to compensate investors and PV promoters after the Royal Decree-law 1/2012 was found to be “surprising, breaking the principle of legitimate expectations” set by the Royal Decree of 2008, which first introduced the FiT subsidy scheme.

Retribution cases

There are two main sets of cases regarding the retroactive cuts or “retribution” on the subsidies. The courts rejected the claims around the first cutbacks in 2010, ruling that there had been no impact. The second set of cases in relation to the cutbacks of 2013/14 are still pending.

Perez added: “This decision that appeared last week is a bit of oxygen for future decisions.”

Read Next

June 11, 2024
The Austrian government has introduced a “made in Europe” subsidy bonus for European photovoltaic components.
May 29, 2024
Spanish inverter manufacturer Ingeteam will supply its products to a 250MW solar PV project from fellow Spanish solar project developer Grenergy.
May 28, 2024
BayWa r.e. has commissioned its first agriPV project in Spain, and has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Velux Group.
May 24, 2024
Solar project developer Recurrent Energy has secured a €674 million (US$730 million) revolving credit facility to expand its European solar and battery energy storage system (BESS) portfolio.
May 20, 2024
Avintia Energía plans to build an 850MW portfolio of greenfield solar projects with Italian oil giant Eni's subsidiary Plenitude in Spain.
April 25, 2024
German utility RWE has commissioned a 92MW solar PV park in Spain, bringing its global operational solar capacity to 4.2GW.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece
Solar Media Events
July 9, 2024
Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia