Bangor Daily News

Falling price of solar panels leads utilities to lobby for taxes
Bangor Daily News

A year after Spain, the sunniest country in Europe, issued notice of a law forcing solar energy-equipped homes and offices to pay a punitive tax, architect Inaki Alonso re-installed a 250 watt solar panel on a beam over his Madrid roof terrace.

« The government wanted people to be afraid to generate their own energy, but they haven’t dared to actually pass the law, » Alonso said as he tightened screws on the panel on a sunny summer day this month. He had removed solar panels from the roof last year. « We’re tired of being afraid, » he said.

Halfway across the globe, in the « sunshine state » of Queensland, Australia, electrical engineer David Smyth says the war waged by some governments and utilities against distributed energy, the term used for power generated by solar panels, is already lost.

« The utilities are in a death spiral, » he told Reuters by telephone while driving between a pub where he helped set up 120 solar panels to cut its A$60,000 ($53,000) annual power bill and a galvanizing plant which was also adding solar panels to reduce costs.

In Australia, he said, solar panels have shifted from being a heavily subsidized indulgence for environmentally-conscious households to a pragmatic option for businesses wanting certainty about what their running costs will be next year. « Not many people are doing it because of emissions or the environment, » Smyth said. « It’s about the cost. »

Quand le solaire n’était pas abordable, les gouvernements subventionnaient pour se donner bonne conscience. Maintenant que le solaire commence à être abordable, les gouvernements veulent taxer pour décourager son utilisation, espérant ainsi protéger les monopoles en place.

On parie combien que le gouvernement du Québec fera tout en son pouvoir pour protéger le monopole d’Hydro-Québec si jamais un jour l’installation de panneaux solaires devient populaire au Québec…