Spain makes solar panels mandatory in new buildings
|November 17, 2004||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Energy Policy: Taking Strong Measures to Catch Up
Spain Makes Solar Panels Mandatory in New Buildings
We welcome improvements to energy policy — but why did the Spanish government make it mandatory? Is the private sector unwilling to move toward smarter energy policy on its own? Perhaps so — remember, in the U.S. the private sector has long lobbied against higher fuel efficiency standards for automobiles, and has only increased fuel efficiency when laws required it.
Here are portions of an interesting item from the Times (UK).
by David Sharrock
Spain wants to take advantage of its sunshine by making solar panels compulsory in new and renovated buildings — to save fuel costs and to improve the environment.
Jose Montilla, the Industry Minister, has announced that starting in 2005, anyone who intends to build a home will be obliged to include solar panels in their plans, with the aim of turning Spain from a straggler to a European leader in the use of renewable energy.
With the price of oil rising above $50 a barrel (£27), solar energy could produce savings of at least 80 (£50) a year on fuel to heat domestic water supplies per household, and reduce greenhouse gases, the Government said.
But critics of the Governments plans claim that the installation of solar panels would increase construction costs by between 1,100 and 1,400 per dwelling.
But would anyone even notice? Property prices have doubled since 1999 as part of a housing boom in Spain which shows no signs of cooling.
The new construction regulation will affect more than half a million new houses a year, if the current pace of construction is maintained.
The Spanish government, led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Prime Minister, is seeking a tenfold increase in the area of solar panels in use in Spain by the year 2010, from the present total of 581,000 sq metres.
Spain lags far behind Germany, Europes current solar energy leader, where 5.4 million sq metres of solar panels are currently in use. But in spite of its low domestic usage, Spain is one of the worlds biggest manufacturers of solar panels.
According to official estimates, installation of solar panels in 3.5 million dwellings built in the past five years in Spain would have yielded a fuel cost saving of 245 million.
Señor Montilla promised subsidies to encourage further take-up of solar panels and to ease the financial pain of the new measure, but he did not give further details.
A single two-metre solar panel on the roof of a home can cut its water-heating bills by up to 70 per cent a year, according to government estimates. Three years ago Seville, the Andalusian capital, introduced the same measure which the Government now intends to adopt nationwide.
Also see these previous articles:
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