Spain’s twin blows to the solar power industry – first the withdrawal of subsidies, then the imposition of a limit on solar profits – have, without question, hit the Spanish solar industry hard. Hand-wringing from all corners have predicted the collapse of the sector, castigated the Spanish government’s lack of ideas, and confidently covered the rebellion of the Spanish energy consumer.
One could be forgiven the assumption from this that Spanish solar installations are shuttering left and right and no new installations are being built, since subsidies have been withdrawn. However, the latest figures from Red Electrica de Espana, the domestic grid operator, show a cumulative 4,679MW of installed solar capacity at the end of October 2013, with 46MW added this year. In addition, 300MW of solar thermal capacity was added this year bringing solar thermal capacity to 2,300MW.
On top of this, several gigawatts worth of new solar capacity have been announced to be connected to the grid by 2015 – the success or failure of these projects will be particularly significant as they will not only not benefit from any subsidies in the form of feed in tariffs, but will also be subject to the new profit limits introduced by the Spanish government this year. We will be watching closely to see whether they manage to gain sufficient funding to begin construction.