Save the Earth! (And a few €€€!)

With the ever-increasing amount of evidence of the detrimental effect we humans are having on the world we live in, it is more and more important that we take steps to look after our planet. After all, it’s the only one we have and if it’s destroyed, it’s destroyed for us all!

Spain has traditionally lagged a bit behind northern European countries when it comes to areas like recycling and renewable energy, but it appears that things may be improving at last. We previously wrote a blog about recycling and you can read about it here.

The “sun tax”
When it came to solar energy, for a country as sunny as this one, Spain was very much in the shade between 2015 and October 2018. This was due to the notorious impuesto al sol, or ‘sun tax’, introduced by the previous government under the Partido Popular. This ‘sun tax’ effectively meant that owners of solar panels were to be charged a tax on the energy produced by their own installation and, in addition, were obliged to “donate” any surplus energy they produced to the general electricity network, receiving nothing in return.

In effect, nobody really paid this sun tax because the bureaucracy was so impossibly cumbersome that no one ever actually received a tax bill and no taxes were collected. It did, however, make an investment in solar energy pretty unattractive to your average consumer, even in the country with the most sun hours per annum in Europe!

Oct 2018
With the change of government, last June the environment and energy were brought under the one ministry and in October a royal decree was passed abolishing the sun tax. As Aurelie Beauvais, Policy Director of SolarPower Europe said “The removal of the sun tax… is excellent news for Spanish consumers, who can now install solar panels without paying unnecessary fees. This decision will boost Spain’s solar sector and in particular the rooftop segment. Today’s new law supports a consumer-led energy transition and is fully in line with the EU’s new rule which states that EU citizens have the right to generate, consume, store and sell electricity without placing punitive taxes and fees on them.” What it means in practical terms is that not only is the tax done away with but also any surplus energy produced, on a monthly basis, can be ‘lent’ to the energy network and then recuperated if and when needed, eliminating the need to store electricity using those expensive batteries.

Green Electric
In light of (no pun intended!) these new developments, callCarlos is now working in conjunction with a solar energy company called Green Electric. Formed in 2012 and based in La Bisbal, this business is run by a family with over 40 years’ experience in the energy sector. With their vast knowledge of every aspect of providing solar energy, they will calculate according to your needs the type of solar panels required and adapt them to fit your property.

Different types of panels may suit better depending on your energy consumption habits; whether, for example, you have a house that is occupied all year round or only used for vacations, or whether or not you have high energy consuming installations such as a swimming pool or air conditioning. Whatever your circumstances Green Electric will offer you the most appropriate installation. The panels they provide are either German or Canadian brands and are guaranteed for 25 years with little or no maintenance required, apart from checking on the wiring occasionally.

They come in a range of different sizes to fit your home (or business) and are a lot more aesthetically pleasing than the solar panels of old, with some models available in a ‘sexy’ black or even made to resemble roof tiles. Improved efficiency also means that today’s panels no longer need to necessarily face directly toward the sun and can be laid flat or parallel to your rooftop.

Green Electric operates all over Catalunya and have plenty of satisfied customers to show for their efforts. There are new solar energy companies beginning to spring up as a result of the change in legislation, but few will have Green Electric’s depth of knowledge or experience. If you’d like to find out more, just let callCarlos know and we’ll arrange everything, from the paperwork to the end product.

If you think the cost of going solar might not be within your budget, it might be worth having a chat with your neighbours! Solar panels can be installed to provide power to adjoining buildings together, meaning installation costs can be divided but the savings are made by everyone.

In line with the efforts to make Spain ‘greener’, there are also other incentives that you might be able to avail of if you switch to solar energy, such as a reduction in your property taxes from your Town Hall (Ajuntament) if you install solar panels.

And it gets better!
If you are legally resident in Spain and if your car is ten or more years old and you’re thinking its time you changed for a newer one, why not consider going for an electric or a hybrid? A new scheme called Plan MOVES, partly funded by the EU, is making €45m available in grants nationwide (€7.3m for Catalunya) to encourage people to switch to non-combustible-fuel vehicles, meaning that you could save up to €5500 on the purchase of a new electric or hybrid car until the end of 2019 – or whenever funds run out! Imagine the savings if you could run your car using solar energy produced at home!!

We’re here to help!
Of course, there’d be some bureaucracy involved in dealing with your Town Hall and paperwork to get through, but as always you can just callCarl… Ah, you already know who to call!

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