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HOTLINE: Spain taxes the sun. Seriously...

August 02, 2013 - 11:15 GMT Location: London

KEYWORDS: Hotline , spain , sun tax , solar power

This is not a joke. Well, Hotline doesn’t think it is, and it spent much of the last week trying to make sure. But no, apparently this is real: Spain is taxing the sun.

Secretary of state for energy, Alberto Nadal, signed a draft royal decree levying consumption taxes on those who want to have solar power systems on their rooftops, local media reported on July 21.

The tax is high enough to ensure that it will be cheaper to keep buying energy from current providers than to try and generate clean power off the grid.

And the penalty for not paying up for the privilege of collecting sunlight for your own use? A fine of up to €30 million ($39.8 million). That’s €30 million, in case you missed it the first time.

"Committing the sacrilege of being energy independent can be very expensive," said Spanish newspaper El Pais, via Google translate.

"The sun is now only for the privileged few and the power companies, in which directors are former presidents and former party ministers."

It is a huge blow to all suppliers to the nation’s solar power industry – from polysilicon producers supplying the solar cell manufacturers to downstream aluminium producers that provide the frames – and a stark turnaround from the government’s policy of support for clean energy to one of massive penalties for anyone trying not to pollute so much.

Spain’s ministry of industry, energy and tourism could be reached for neither comment nor CT scan.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

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