The photovoltaic makes its way in Spain with the help of self-consumption. For the second year in a row, the installed capacity grew in 2018. 261.7 MW (megawatts) of new power were installed, which is 94% more than in 2017, according to data from the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF). And of this new power, 90% corresponds to self-consumption facilities. UNEF points to the drop in costs as the main factor.
Photovoltaic energy exceeded the barrier of 5,000 MW installed last year in Spain. This technology lived a decade ago a vertiginous growth driven by the solar orchards primate. Subsequently, in 2012, a paralysis was imposed that has been maintained for several years before the bubble that had been created in this sector.
However, the data collected by the UNEF point to the fact that photovoltaics has begun to raise its head in Spain in the last two years with a growth – still slight – driven by self-consumption – solar panels that individuals and companies set up to be self-sufficient. electricity or to lower your energy bill.
In 2018, 261.7 MW of new photovoltaic solar power were installed in the country. Of these, 26 MW correspond to plant panels connected to the network and the rest -235.7 MW- to energy self-consumption facilities.
After this growth of self-consumption is the fall in costs of this renewable technology -about 80% in a decade- and the boost that Europe is trying to give to this type of facility, according to José Donoso, CEO of the company. UNEF.
The self-consumption has been penalized during years in Spain by the administrative obstacles and loads imposed from the Central Administration, as the so-called sun tax that approved the PP. The new PSOE Executive decided to end those tolls last October. And it prepares a new regulation to set the technical and administrative conditions and regulate the shared self-consumption and the compensations that individuals may receive for the electricity that they pour into the network, something that could mean a turning point because it would increase the profitability of this technology. "Now there is a clear will" to promote self-consumption, says Donoso about the current government.
The new regulation is expected to be ready in May. As of that moment, the UNEF maintains that there will be an increase in self-consumption of between 300 and 400 MW per year of new power.
While that moment arrives, Donoso explains that the main growth niche now is agriculture. Around 25% of the self-consumption projects of 2018 were disconnected from the grid for irrigation, according to the UNEF. "It is cheaper to install plates with batteries than a diesel engine," says Donoso to explain the attractiveness of self-consumption among farmers.
UNEF also highlights as positive the momentum that Brussels is receiving self-consumption in Europe through the new regulation on renewable energies of the Commission. Throughout Europe, during the past year, 8,500 MW of photovoltaic were installed, which means that 261.7 MW only represent 3% of the growth in the EU. Most of the solar power in Europe was installed in Germany and the Netherlands. And all over the world the leader was China again, with 44,000 MW of new solar power.
If the forecasts are fulfilled, this 2019 will be a record year in Spain in installation of renewable power in general and of photovoltaic in particular. Almost 4,000 MW of solar should be installed that were awarded in the last renewable auctions, recalls Donoso.
If this happens, it will be a growth never seen in Spain, not even during the bubble that was created with the premiums between 2007 and 2008. "That model is an error," laments Donoso. "You can not have a model based on accelerations and stoppages; nobody will create an industry if growth is not continued, "he explains.
That is why the general director of the UNEF applauds the plans of the Government, which foresees an annual growth of 3,000 MW of photovoltaic in the next decade to meet the commitments of Spain for the implementation of renewable and reduction of greenhouse gases. Of those 3,000 MW, Donoso estimates that between 10% and 15% will correspond to self-consumption facilities.