THE Spanish government is being accused of lies following its decision to slash subsidies for solar power projects.
The renewable lobby insists it has been hung out to dry, with politicians exaggerating costs in order to justify the cuts.
Spain’s solar industry body, Asif, argues the solar projects have been sacrificed to keep profits from coal and gas plants high.
But leading utility companies, including Iberdrola and Endesa, have hit back by complaining that their gas and coal plants are losing money because they are needed much less frequently.
They claim they have been forced to fork out 20 billion euros to subsidise solar and wind projects and have urged the government to limit the number of subsidised renewable projects being built.
There is no indication yet of when the government will pay the companies back, with credit rating agencies threatening to downgrade the companies if something is not done to address the ‘tariff deficit’.
Last year the solar industry received 2.6 billion euros in subsidies, with solar projects last summer providing up to four per cent of the country’s electricity.
The phenomenal growth of the solar industry, since subsidies were introduced in 2004, has left Spain with 10 times the amount of solar pv capacity the government had planned for by 2010.
The cuts could have long lasting repercussions, with investors reluctant to back new projects while many existing ones could go out of business.