A Graveyard For Our Solar-Powered Future, In Spain

Illustration for article titled A Graveyard For Our Solar-Powered Future, In Spain

Here's a Spanish cemetary which installed solar panels on top of the mausoleums a year or two back. It's a fitting image, because Spain has just buried its enormous push for solar energy, thanks to the financial crisis.

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According to Bloomberg, Spain is choking off its massive investment in solar power, which involves subsidies and investment guarantees for solar plants, because Standard and Poors just lowered the country's debt rating and there are fears it'll be tarred with the same brush as the calamity-prone Greeks:

Illustration for article titled A Graveyard For Our Solar-Powered Future, In Spain

Spain is battling on several fronts to revive its economy and convince government bondholders it can avoid getting dragged into a Greek-style debt spiral after Standard & Poor's cut its credit rating April 28. Solar-plant owners including General Electric Co. earn about 12 times what's paid for power from fossil fuels. Most of that is a subsidy charged to customers.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government last cut solar rates in 2008, hitting plants not built at the time. Now it's weighing reductions for the thousands of installations already making power from the sun, wind and biomass.

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Yes, you heard that right. They're not just cutting back on future guarantees, but weaseling out on promises they made to existing projects. In the end, Spain's solar power industry may be doomed, at a crucial moment, because of a crisis created by a handful of hedge fund managers run amuck. It's almost unimaginable.

And we'll be left with a country full of defunct solar plants, a giant mausoleum commemorating the future that never was:

Illustration for article titled A Graveyard For Our Solar-Powered Future, In Spain

Photos by AP.

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DISCUSSION

Kitradu
J.D. Buffington

Fossil fuel WILL RUN OUT. Is it not better to bite the bullet now and work towards making "green" energies worthwhile by flooding the market with their wares, even if it is a slow expensive haul?