Pressemitteilung BoxID: 200833 (European Photovoltaic Industry Association)
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Photovoltaic Industry urging the Spanish government to improve the future decree

(PresseBox) (Brussels, ) The current royal decree that provides the framework for the retribution of grid-connected photovoltaic systems in Spain will come to an end next 29 September; the Spanish government is working on a new proposal of decree that would come into force from January 2009. According to the first draft, an annual market cap has been fixed to 300 MW and the proposed tariffs have been strongly decreased, potentially jeopardising Industry sustainability. The European photovoltaic industry is urging the government to reconsider its proposal to preserve the sustainable development of this emerging sector.

Spain leading global solar photovoltaic market

Spain has become recently the second market for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, thus dragging massive investments and job creation. With an annual market of 512 MW in 2007 and an expected market superior to 1000 MW this year, Spain has attracted all the attention of the international PV community in the last two years. This impressive growth, long awaited in a country benefiting from so much sun, has enabled the development of a national industry employing today over 26.800 people. While the building sector in Spain is cutting jobs, the Spanish solar sector can be proud to show such dynamism! said today Ernesto Macias, General Manager at the Spanish leading PV manufacturer Isofoton and president of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.

A decree that should boost the Spanish photovoltaic sector

The current decree that rules the remuneration of grid connected systems will come to an end by the end of September therefore the government is working on a new proposal. The initial version circulating since the beginning of the summer is setting a market cap of 300 MW for the next year, segmenting it with 200 MW for roof-top systems and 100 MW for ground mounted installations, in addition the proposed tariffs are too low to be effective. The cap and the typology proposed are strongly worrying the sector as they would not encourage the further development of the market and of a promising industry. If it must be recognized that the market explosion that has taken place this year has exceed all expectations, the new decree should however allow a sustainable long-term development of the market, commented Ernesto Macias. The European photovoltaic industry is therefore supporting the proposal made by ASIF and APPA, the Spanish photovoltaic and renewable energy associations, and is urging the government to take it seriously into consideration.

A temporary and cost efficient support

The current level of feed-in tariffs in Spain have lead to the explosion that we are experiencing today, however revised to more sustainable levels, it could ensure a continuous development of installations. This support is crucial until the technology becomes competitive with retail electricity prices (grid parity). This grid-parity level is expected in Spain to happen progressively up to 2015 at the latest, given the current decrease of photovoltaic products costs on the one side and the increasing energy prices on the other side. Until then, a support to both small and large installations is required. Small installations, in particular building integrated are bringing solar energy closer to the consumer and should largely be encouraged, large power plants are useful as they are driving solar electricity prices by stimulating cost reduction. The experience of Germany has shown that the real cost of supporting PV systems, for electricity consumers, remains marginal. In 2006 it was representing only about 2 per month on the electricity bill of German households.

Spains should take this unique opportunity to confirm its leadership on EU level

In the last years, Spain has been leading the development of renewable energy across Europe. Both the wind and the solar sector have experienced tremendous growth, which has resulted in the development of a strong national renewable sector. With the up-coming adoption of the European directive on the use of renewable energies by the end of the year, Spain is expected to show the example to other European countries. Spain should be at the forefront of old European countries, showing the right example to other member states on the way to develop renewable energies, in particular those which are about to set up mechanisms to develop their market. The new decree should be the opportunity to send the right message, concluded Ernesto Macias.
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