Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Spain plans to tax the Sun

SPAIN IS a forerunner in the renewable energy industry, but reformed legislation now threatens to curb solar growth putting the small-scale photovoltaic market at risk. New measures could create major headaches for several Spanish banks. Solar energy groups claim that the subsidy reductions could force solar energy companies into default.

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the Spanish government drastically cut its subsidies for solar power, and now in an unprecedented move wants to make consumers pay for the electricity that they generate and use themselves, a move unheard of in any other country.

The reforms aim to raise money for combating a €26 billion government debt to utility companies which has built up over the years in regulating energy costs and prices. With Spain in economic crisis, power consumption is falling but the energy debt will continue growing by €4-5 billion a year unless the government takes action.

The government announced a new "support levy" on solar power. The solar levy is fixed at 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Private individuals who fail to hook their solar panels up to the national grid to be metered and taxed could face fines of up to €30 million under the new law.

US business and finance magazine Forbes pulled no punches in an article titled, "Out of ideas and in debt, Spain sets sights on taxing the sun". The article took an incredulous tone and noted: "Spain is now attempting to scale back the use of solar panels – the use of which they have encouraged and subsidized over the last decade – by imposing a tax on those who use the panels."

Inaki Alonso, an architect who specializes in ecological projects, calculated that the cost of generating his own power under the new energy law and decided the numbers no longer add up. Two weeks after the government slapped the series of levies on green energy, Alonso hired two workmen to remove the solar panels he had put on his roof only six months earlier.

Neither was it possible to leave the panels on his Madrid home without connecting them to the grid; that would risk an astronomical fine. "The new law makes it unviable to produce my own clean energy," Alonso said.

Moreover, the law does not allow homeowners to sell electricity back to the grid. In 2004 the government removed economic barriers for the connection of renewable energy technologies to the grid for large-scale solar thermal and photovoltaic plants and guaranteed feed-in tariffs. Spain ended up with a huge surplus of electricity whereby the total capacity exceeds peak demand by more than 60 per cent, and owing utility companies for decade-long subsidizations for selling electricity at less than cost to its customers.

In the end, Alonso moved his solar panels to a friend's house deep in the Spanish countryside. This was far enough from the nearest mains supply to be exempt from the stipulation that panels must be hitched up to the grid.

Source: ReutersForbesBloomberg

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

New Law confirms "Obligations and Fines"

PUBLISHED IN the Official Gazette of the Spanish Government (BOE) on 27th June 2013 is the boletin confirming "Obligations and Fines" for offences relating to the Royal Decree. 

The article proclaims financial penalties as law, with fines to be imposed by the local government bodies based on three level of offenses:
  • Minor offenses, a fine of 300-600 euros.
  • Serious offenses, a fine of 601-1000 euros.
  • Very serious offenses, a fine of 1001-6000 euros.

Monday, 8 July 2013

You won't get one of these .....

unless you have one of these .....

..... an authorised Architect

MEET ASIER, "Our Man in Torrevieja". Asier qualified with top honours in architecture. He is a member of the Colegio de Arquitectos de Alicante (colegio oficial member number 10287). An Architect must possess a membership to a Spanish official college in order to legally offer their professional services. Asier is fully authorised to issue the Energy Efficiency Certificate.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Valencia now accepting certificates for registration

DISINFORMATION AND chaos would be a fair description of the state of the new Energy Efficiency Certificate saga in Spain at the moment… un poco loco!

Government fast tracking, contradictions and confusing points in the legislation, software issues, along with the scams and cheap certificates have all contributed to the mayhem. Some real estate agents are refusing to do anything “until the situation calms down,” and one could justify being sympathetic to that claim. Many people do not understand whether or not they need the certificate, whilst others consider the certificate as another tax, and just another way of squeezing money. Consequently a slow-down has occurred which is forecast to have had a negative affect on the national property sales figures for June.

However, those wanting to abide by the law and not wishing to put themselves in a position whereby the sale of their property may default should persevere and obtain an Energy Efficiency Certificate from a trustworthy source.

After initial delays, Valencia is now accepting EECs for registration at the government authorised agency, AVENMurcia is covered in a previous post. - The registration can be applied for online or in person and currently is free. 

The certification process of a building is not fully complete until the EEC is registered. No building or part of a building, according to the new property law, may be sold or rented without having previously registered the EEC in the Register of Certified Energy Performance of Buildings. It is the obligation of the developer or owner of the building to register the certificate.

energy label
Once the certificate has been issued it is necessary to register it with the appropriate agency of the Autonomous Community. Procedure may vary, and not all regional governments have designated an authorised agency. Some regions may require a fee, expected to be in the region of €30. Registration may be delegated to a third party.

When the registration is approved, an energy label is issued and should be attached to the certificate. The energy label summarises the information contained in the certificate and is for the purpose of display. It should then be made available to real estate agents, prospective buyers or tenants and displayed with all marketing of the property.

It is vital that the EEC has been issued by an authorised architect or engineer otherwise penalties will apply resulting in fines. So, beware of scams and cheap certificates.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Scam concerns over the new Energy Certificate

ONE MONTH since the introduction of the new Energy Efficiency Certificate and already there are major concerns with scams offering cheap certificates. It’s hardly surprising that the new legislation has bought out the cowboys. What is surprising to the professionals is how fast the illegal marketing has occurred.

“A general reduction of prices is not bad in itself,” says Fidel Perez Montes, Director of Diversificación y Ahorro de la Energía, IDAE, “the problem is whether this reduction is accompanied by suspicious practices.”

For example, the Colegio de Aparejadores de Madrid has discovered advertisers that guarantee the highest rating (A), "something that turns the certificate in to a mere triviality when the initiative is crucial if we want to reduce CO² emissions to achieve more energy efficient homes and buildings," says Jesús Paños, President of the college.

José Antonio Galdón
Another malpractice is to offer the certificate without visiting the premises "This is not acceptable in anyway," says Jose Antonio Galdón, President of the General Council of Industrial Engineering of Spain, who explains “the Royal Decree requires a skilled and authorized professional to survey the property.”

Further concerns are about the cost of the certificate compared to the prices in the UK. Energy Performance Certificates were introduced in England and Wales in 2007 as part of the Home Information Packs (HIPs) for domestic properties. When the requirement for HIPs was removed in May 2010, the requirement for EPCs continued and this created a price war between assessors gunning for work. Some of those same assessors are offering their services here, which they are not legally authorised to do.

An EEC must be issued by an architect, engineer, or a qualified technician who is authorised to undertake building projects and thermal installations for buildings (this is important because not all architects and engineers are certified). They must belong to an official provincial association (colegio oficial) and have a member number. This allows them to offer their services professionally. If the assessor is not authorised then it will be impossible to register the certificate.

Jose Antonio Galdón emphasizes that for a house, "I would become suspicious of those who offer cheap certificates. The price you should expect to pay is between 200 and 300 euros per household". 

This price is the average cost of an Energy Efficiency Certificate across mainland Europe. In addition, those who breach the rules are liable for prosecution with fines up to 6,000 euros.