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Solar for self-consumption keeps growing in Spain

Around 569 MW of new PV systems were installed last year under the country’s rules for self-consumption. Around 56% of this capacity was deployed in the industrial segment, while commercial installations had a 23% share.

From pv magazine Spain

According to new statistics released by Spanish photovoltaic association UNEF, about 596 MW of new PV systems for self-consumption were deployed in Spain last year. This figure represents an increase of 30% compared to 2019, when 459 MW was installed.

Of this 596 MW, around 2% corresponds to self-consumption facilities that are not connected to the grid. Regarding the distribution by sectors, most of this new power, 56%, has been installed in the industrial sector, 23% in the commercial sector and 19% in the residential segment, which is where self-consumption has experienced unprecedented growth. In 2019, residential self-consumption accounted for 10%.

These figures also show that, despite being a very complicated year in which the Covid pandemic resulted in a large decrease in energy demand in general terms, families have been able to opt for this cheaper and cleaner form of energy. On the one hand, those who have not lost their jobs or were not affected by Spain’s temporary unemployment scheme (ERTE) have been able to save and think about how to invest their money. In fact, the savings rate of families has gone from 8% to more than 31%, according to statistics from the Spanish National Statistics Institute.

Incentives being granted at national and regional level, as well as the elimination of administrative barriers combined with strong outreach campaigns by solar companies are two factors contributing to last year’s growth. “In the case of single-family homes in a sunny area, an installation without batteries is an investment that can be recovered in nine or 10 years,” explained José Donoso, general eirector of UNEF. “In addition, there are deductions in the  Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles (IBI), which is a tax that applies to both residents and non-residents, and the banks prefer to put their money on the roof of the house.”

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One of UNEF’s priorities is administrative simplification for self-consumption projects. “This year there are already eight Autonomous Communities that have eliminated the building license for rooftop installations and we hope that others will join very soon,” Donoso said. 

He also emphasized that the industrial sector stabilized its growth trajectory, reaching 56% of the photovoltaic megawatts installed in 2020, compared to 70% in 2019, while the commercial segment saw its share decrease from 30% in 2019 to 23% last year. The particular development of self-consumption facilities in these sectors has depended on how they have been affected in each case by the health crisis.

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Source: pv magazine