Renewable Energy Magazine reported yesterday that Spain’s photovoltaic industry lobby groups have urged their members to take to the streets to protest the government’s move to retroactively slash subsidies for the renewable energy technology.

Spain’s Photovoltaic Industry Association said the cuts would hit more than 200,000 people, including investors, owners, manufacturers and installers.

According to the National Energy Commission, the cuts will hit a large proportion of the country’s 53,155 solar PV installations which together account for 4% of all Spain’s installed power capacity.

The new measures will reduce solar PV tariff premiums by restricting the number of hours that installations will be eligible to receive higher prices for their output. They will also make the power producers assume costs that had previously been factored into the tariff structure. The measures are aimed at saving power consumers Eur4.6 billion over the next three years.

“Today, protests are the only way to challenge the Spanish government’s backward-looking policies on renewable energies, especially solar PV,” said a European Association for Renewable Energy representative. “Tens of thousands of Spanish citizens who invested in solar PV now feel they have been robbed by the retroactive amendment. Spain is losing the opportunity to leave the crisis behind, as it has destroyed the industrial sector created in recent years around renewables.”

The protests are organized by the Photovoltaic Business Association, the Photovoltaic Industry Association and the Association of Renewable Energy Producers. They have called on their members to protest at the Spanish parliament this afternoon in Madrid.