Spaniards rebel against solar panel levy

(Reuters) – Two weeks after Spain’s government slapped a series of levies on green energy, Inaki Alonso hired two workmen to remove the solar panels he had put on his roof only six months earlier.

Alonso, an architect who specializes in ecological projects, calculated the cost of generating his own power under a new energy law and decided the numbers no longer added up.

Neither was it possible to leave the panels on his Madrid home without connecting them to the electricity grid; that would have risked an astronomical fine of between 6 million and 30 million euros ($8 million-$40 million).

“The new law makes it unviable to produce my own clean energy,” Alonso said.

Spain’s conservative government announced a reform of the energy system last month, including the “support levy” on solar power in a country blessed with abundant sunlight.

Written by Reuters. To read the full article, click here.

What You Need to Know About Shopping for Solar Panels

Following a record-breaking year for rooftop solar panels in the U.S. in 2012, you can expect a flood of information overload on how to go about getting solar panels installed on your rooftop. Choosing the right solar panel service company has long required a considerable amount of detective work to figure out what you want and what you need.

As with any retail service, consumers should expect to deal in a straightforward manner with installers and get what they’re promised. Most consumers, though, have no previous experience shopping for solar, so it’s more difficult to spot shady language in a contract or missing steps in the purchase process. An online search of solar installers in your town could turn up a long list of companies.

To help you combat the mass of information, as well as any misinformation, we created this cheat sheet of things you should consider:

Written by Ucilia Wang. To read the full article, click here.

EU, China settle solar-panel dispute

Chinese producers agree to minimum price for exports.
The European Union and China yesterday settled their dispute over the export of underpriced Chinese solar panels.

The agreement came nearly eight weeks after the EU imposed punitive tariffs on solar panels and their components, solar cells and wafers. The levy was set at 11.8%, but it was due to quadruple on 6 August, to an average of 47.6%. Some Chinese companies faced tariffs of 67.9%.

The European Commission decided on a graduated approach in order to encourage Chinese producers to come to a settlement, and also in response to anxiety from EU member states about the effects of a substantial tariff.

The agreement sets a minimum price for Chinese exports of solar panels to the EU, and also a limit on the volume of exports.

Full details of the deal will be available only after it is approved by the 28 European commissioners. However, an official and industry insider said that the minimum price would be €0.56 per watt, and that total exports amounting to greater than 7 gigawatts a year would still be subject to tariffs. In 2012, EU demand for solar panels amounted to about 15 gigawatts. The EU accounts for about three-quarters of the global market.

Written by European Voice. To read the full article, click here.