A few weeks ago I ran a blog regarding the allegations of fraud in the Spanish Solar Sector (news that was published several weeks later at GreenTechMedia.com). The story has since taken a few predictable turns (indignation, a period of silence, crossed fingers, etc) and has now reached the point that the National Energy Commission (CNE) is ramping up the pressure with legal and legislative measures. Specifically, the CNE intends on bringing punitive charges against solar developers who knowingly fabricated paperwork in connection with the September 30th deadline, surpassing what many thought would merely be a series of fines followed by acceptance of the grid connection. It appears that the authorities are taking this very seriously, and rightfully so. If solar is to be a force in distributed generation it should be as much for reasons having to do with transparency as for the simple nature of the technology. The authorities should be applauded on their hard line towards any malfaesance especially given the dismal reputation of the real estate sector.
Of course, this isn´t the first bad news the Spanish solar sector has seen in the last months. The Solar Energy Association (ASIF) has said that the changing legislation and the credit crunch has resulted in about 10,000 job losses in the PV industry in Spain alone. Considering that the renewable energy industry has been a central pillar of the Spanish economic development strategy in the last few years, this is grim news .
My take; the situation isn´t going to improve anytime soon. Unless there are a combination of changes to the cap (133MW for ground mounted installation) the performance bond (€500/kW for ground, €50 for roofs) or the risk appetite of capital (unlikely given the global financial meltdown), Spain will continue to be in the doldrums for at least the first two quarters of 2009.