Taxing sunlight in Spain

Just when you think  you’ve seen everything…

A post on Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis reveals the truly jaw-dropping audacity of some politicians in Spain. They have decided to levy a consumption tax on those who use solar panels. The tax is called a “backup toll” and the sole function of this tax is to make it financially unfeasible to use solar power.

I almost don’t know where to even begin.

The logic behind the law is completely flawed, beyond even what some of the lunatics here in the US have proposed and even passed (both at state and federal levels). It’s never been easier to get real news and the supposed lampoons of the news that come out of sites like The Onion mixed up.

The purpose of the tax can’t be to actually collect money like most taxes. It would indeed be the ultimate irony if the expense of collecting the “backup toll” is higher than the revenue, or if the people decide simply not to pay it en masse. I’d like to think it’s unlikely the plan to tax solar power out of existence will actually work in practice.

The other point I’d like to ponder is, how fast can Spain get rid of this stupid law when the oil, coal, and other non-renewable fuel markets take a dive and become financially unfeasible? Will they be able to even get rid of it fast enough? I’ve noticed this about a lot of laws: they tend to stick around a lot longer than they are useful or sensible. It took what seemed like forever to get rid of the regulatory walls between cable TV and phone service (at one point in the US, if you sold one you couldn’t sell the other).

We need more renewable energy, not less. Spain is moving in the wrong direction entirely. The perplexing thing is, I’m not sure what exactly the rest of the world could or should do about it. Maybe someone out there has an idea.