Print 113 comment(s) - last by heffeque.. on May 18 at 11:11 AM

The profitable nature of solar power in Spain has given rise to strange installation locations, such as this plant which towers over a cemetary.  (Source: AP)
Spain has found a controversial way to boost solar adoption

When it comes to solar power, the real dilemmas are efficiency and cost.  On the one hand, efficiency has steadily improved over the last couple decades to the point where it’s approaching the utility prices of other power generation methods.  Exotic technologies promise even greater gains.  However, the price of solar-generated power still remains at least five times as expensive as coal-power, the chief source of power in the U.S. (compared to the leading candidate, nuclear, which is approximately 1.5 to 2 times as expensive).

While solar adoption from a cost standpoint is unattractive, there's much debate over whether commercial adoption is needed to spur further research to propel solar into the realm of cost competitiveness.  While many nations like the U.S. and China have modestly taken this position, adopting solar at a moderate rate, one nation has fallen head over heels for solar -- Spain.

Spain is allowing solar and wind power plants to charge as much as 10 times the rates of coal power plants, making it possible for solar power installations to earn utilities big money.  On average, recent rate increases have raised solar charges to over 7 times the rates of coal or natural gas rates.   The costs are added onto consumers' power bills.

The results are mixed; while Spanish power bills are at record highs, the number of deployments is soaring.  Spain has 14 GW of solar power, or the equivalent capacity of nine average nuclear reactors, under construction -- the most of any nation.  Florida’s FPL Group Inc. and French Electricite de France SA are among the many jumping to build in Spain.

Gabriel Calzada, an economist and professor at Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, states, "Who wouldn’t want to enter a business that’s paid many times more than the market rate, and where the customer is guaranteed for life?"

By 2009, 42 percent of Spaniards energy bills -- approximately 95 euros ($127) on average -- will be provided by alternative energy.  Spanish law requires power distributors to buy all clean energy produced in the first 25 years of the plants' lives.  The government also recently raised the rate of Spain believes this sacrifice will pay off as fossil fuel resources become depleted and emissions standards tighten.

Karsten von Blumenthal, an industrial analyst at Hamburg-based SES Research GmbH states, "The guarantee is more attractive than what other countries offer.  Actually the U.S. has better space for solar, in the deserts of California and Nevada."

The U.S. meanwhile is also advancing thanks in part to President Obama's solar initiatives passed earlier this year as part of the federal stimulus legislation.  Over 6 GW of capacity is planned for the U.S.

Fred Morse, an official at the Washington- based Solar Energy Industries Association trade group and author of the first report to the White House on solar power (1969), says that the U.S. needs to adopt more incentives if it hopes to catch Spain.  He states, "The incentives, if implemented promptly and effectively, should greatly facilitate the financing of these plants."

One promising benefit of the Spanish solar boom is that it is increasing the number of plants utilizing new, potentially more efficient technologies like solar thermal or sterling engines.  Spain is limiting the number of photovoltaic plants (solar panel-based designs), but is giving out unlimited licenses for solar thermal and other alternative plants.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Charging more for Solar
By Keeir on 5/14/2009 11:34:54 AM , Rating: 2
Mate, instead of shooting your mouth off

Check out the symbol for Lira


Now Euro

Now I would agree that one should realize that the Euro has replaced some (but apparently not all) the currencies of countries part of the European Union (only 16/27 member states are part of the Monetary Union) and should look up spanish currency with a quick search.

However, given that the state of the "European Union" is very confusing and changing landscape (Apparently there are 7 different classifications of EU membership and apparently 4 in regards to the use of the Euro)

And the clear similarities between the symbols in English for Lira and Euro with the odd placement of the Euro symbol (In American English) of the original poster. The guess of Lira is actually pretty good! Its not like he guess pounds, or kronar (Still used in Denmark which could switch the Euro or could not and used in Norway which can't switch to use the Euro. Not that the Danish and Norway Kronar are the same, just spelled the same in English)

RE: Charging more for Solar
By Keeir on 5/14/2009 11:38:34 AM , Rating: 2

Hahah, the system changed it for me

A lira typically has double lines running though the L and looks very similar to Euro Symbol

One more try


For the record, it looked fine in the preview pane

RE: Charging more for Solar
By LoweredExpectations on 5/14/09, Rating: 0
RE: Charging more for Solar
By nixoofta on 5/15/2009 5:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
I've got pesetas out the wazoo on RE4. Are you sayin' they're worthless now!?


"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki