Shifting policy extinguishes short-lived Spanish solar boom, fortunately

Michael Giberson

The New York Times has a fascinating story on the solar power industry boom and bust in Spain created by shifting public policies. Similar effects have been observed from shifts in subsidy support for renewable power development in the United States, though because the subsidy was smaller and spread over a larger area the consequences were not so dramatic as described in the Spanish solar policy case.

The renewable power industry usually takes these boom-and-bust cycles as evidence that long-lasting subsidies are needed, but it may just signal that the subsidies are poorly designed and so neither economically nor politically sustainable.