Spain to Tax Sunlight

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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It’s only fair. Obama insists on taxing the carbon in the air. Maryland’s Dem governor is taxing the rain. Someone has to go tax the sunlight and considering Spain’s economy, it needs all the tax revenue that it can get.

Proving that idiocy truly has no bounds, Spain issued a “royal decree” taxing sunlight gatherers. The state threatens fines as much as 30 million euros for those who illegally gather sunlight without paying a tax.

The tax is just enough to make sure that homeowners cannot gather and store solar energy cheaper than state-sponsored providers.

The Secretary of State for Energy, Alberto Nadal, signed a draft royal decree in which consumption taxes are levied on those who want to start solar power systems on their rooftops. The tax, labeled a “backup toll” is high enough to ensure that it will be cheaper to keep buying energy from current providers.

Green Energy has always been crony capitalism and rent seeking writ large. Laws like this just make it really obvious. It’s not about clean energy, it’s about providing a sinecure to some well-connected businessmen and their businesses.

That’s the way it is everywhere, whether in Spain or in America.

  • fatebekind

    George Hamilton could not be reached for comment.

    • Rsmile

      George Harrison is dead.

      • fatebekind

        Hamilton of acting and tanning fame, not Harrison of “Here comes the Sun” & Beatles fame.

  • Jsjk

    I’m reminded of the following: “The first man I saw was of a meagre aspect, with sooty hands and face, his hair and beard long, ragged, and singed in several places. His clothes, shirt, and skin, were all of the same colour. He has been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers. He told me, he did not doubt, that, in eight years more, he should be able to supply the governor’s gardens with sunshine, at a reasonable rate: but he complained that his stock was low, and entreated me ‘to give him something as an encouragement to ingenuity, especially since this had been a very dear season for cucumbers.’ I made him a small present, for my lord had furnished me with money on purpose, because he knew their practice of begging from all who go to see them.” Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift (3-5 at the Academy of Lagado).

  • Kaboodle

    You seem to imply that the taxing of gathering rainwater is a bad thing. In most places it’s not allowed at all because if it were to catch on as a local practice in an area, it could severely impact the water table and levels of rivers, streams and ponds in the watershed. It’s not just GREEDY GOVERNMENT RAWR.

    • Arrow to the Knee

      That’s ridiculous. The water goes down the drain or on the ground anyway. Where do you think it goes?

      • Kaboodle

        Gathering rainwater to hold in private cisterns does not put the water directly back into the watershed, also in some areas it can lead to a massive mosquito problem.

        • John

          If it creates a mosquito problem, then if and when that happens, it should be addressed. Closed cisterns do not, and the watershed issue is chicken-little nonsense. A cistern only withholds the amount of an initial filling of the cistern, and whatever minuscule (relative to overall rainfall) amount of usage from the cistern. This nonsense is just greedy governments looking for “revenue”. Well, at least they don’t call it “profit”.

          • Kaboodle

            The cisterns disrupting the watershed is a pre-emptive issue. Sure, a few people doing it is not a big deal, but if say a large portion of a local population in a suburban sprawl started all having water cisterns catching everything from their roof and possibly more from their yard if they set it up for it, would cause a SIGNIFICANT reduction in the groundwater absorption. Don’t forget that water that goes out your pipes does not go directly back into the groundwater table either, it goes through a treatment plant first, which does output to a different area for groundwater (albeit keeping it in the overall regional watershed generally).

            So it’s one of those times where the law is silly if you look at it in small or singular cases, but if you consider it on a LARGE scale, It’s a must have guard in-place. Generally they’re not taxing the water thing, they’re banning it outright because of the potential problems.

            That said, the SUNLIGHT one the article references is yes, just greedy revenue seeking as the only people it hurts is the electric company. (Assuming you don’t put up huge shades that block the light from a neighbors yard, etc)