Self-consumption will take off strongly in the Basque Country as an alternative to the rise in electricity

Two workers install solar panels on the roof of a building in Oñati. / Felix morquecho

The EVE affirms that the use of solar panels makes the receipt cheaper, because they work at full capacity precisely in the most expensive time slots

Fernando Segura

The generation of electricity for self-consumption has exploded in recent months due to the new regulatory frameworks that favor its expansion. The first accolade was received after the elimination of the one known as
‘tax on the sun’ (Royal Decree 244/2019), which removed the obstacles that existed for the production of photovoltaic energy.

This fact has been added to the entry into force on day 1 of the new electricity rate that, as is known, divides the receipt into
six time zones with three prices: valley (very cheap), flat and punta (more expensive). Specifically, it is more convenient to consume electricity between 00:00 and 08:00 from Monday to Friday, as well as all weekends and holidays. On the contrary, the bill goes up in the sections between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and from 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Natalia Díaz de Arcaya, responsible for Distributed Generation of the
EVE, points out that this system favors self-consumption, because precisely the hours of the day with the greatest photovoltaic solar generation –during the morning and afternoon– coincide with the most expensive tariff sections. During these periods, therefore, those who have solar panels can avoid using the conventional electricity grid. The EVE specialist adds that
self-consumption is an upward trend.

Jose Ignacio Mendoza, spokesperson for the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (
A F) in the Basque Country, and in turn manager of Ekisolar, agrees with Diez de Arcaya that this is an optimal moment for those who choose to generate their own energy. “The number of installations in homes, companies and public buildings has skyrocketed.
We are living a ‘boom’. They really wanted to have this type of facility, after several years of legal blockade.

The elimination of the ‘sun tax’ was a first impulse for the take off of self-consumption

Regarding the new electricity tariff, he explains that it has made the consumer “more aware of the time slots and the costs associated with them. It is clear that it will suppose
a boost for the installation of plates solar, because the free energy produced by the modules coincides with the most expensive sections ”.

Mendoza points out that self-consumption can suppose u
n savings of between 10-15%, but he clarifies that “everything depends on the use made of the installation and consumption. In other words, the more the production hours coincide with the hours of highest consumption, the more savings will be noticed ».

APPA RenewablesFor its part, it states that a small consumer covered by the PVPC (regulated) rate who installs 1 KW of power, “would see their savings increased by 50% with the new rate scheme compared to the previous one.” The association highlights that Spain is experiencing a stage of
growth and consolidation of self-consumption, with 623 megawatts installed in 2020 – a record in the historical series – and 1,500 accumulated.

In the Basque Country, according to the EVE, installed power amounts to 62.2 MW –11.2 self-consumption– when in 2015 there was only 25. Therefore, in the last five years it has multiplied by 2.4. The growth margin is important, because the objective is
reach 293 MW by 2030.

«New paradigm»

The elimination of the ‘sun tax’ meant that in 2019 the same self-consumption power was installed in the Basque Country as in the previous ten years. Natalia Diaz de Arcaya points out that it increased in an «exponential» way, because «it opened the door to a new energy paradigm in which self-consumption has become much simpler and more feasible than what had been allowed with the regulatory frameworks valid until that moment. To this regulatory modification, a
price reduction and increased performance of solar panels ».

It is still too early to know in detail what impact the new pricing system will have on the installation of solar panels, but according to the sources consulted it seems that it will be significant. It must also be borne in mind that both the central and the Basque administrations have aid for self-generation. Thus, the Secretary of State for Energy, Sara Aegasen, announced on Monday that the central government will allocate
900 million euros to this end. The president of the UNEF, Rafael Benjumea, estimates that these grants will allow the development of 3 GW, with 18,000 new facilities throughout the State.

Both the EVE and the central government have aid to install solar panels

The EVE, for its part, subsidizes the installation of panels. In turn, for people interested in generating their own energy and who lack a roof on which to place the plates, it has launched the alternative of participating in
cooperatives. Together with the Mondragon Group, EVE has created the company Ekiola for this purpose.

The building permit, a brake on the placement of solar panels

The Basque Country, as calculated by the UNEF, will receive 50 million from the aid program for investment in self-consumption announced by the central government. This item will allow the installation of 178 MW. The autonomous communities are in charge of managing the distribution of these funds. UNEF values ​​positively that access to these items has been provided by simple competition and points out that the key to success lies in the management of these grants being carried out in an agile manner. In this sense, it criticizes the fact that in the Basque Country, in addition to Madrid, Murcia, Asturias, La Rioja and Cantabria, the requirement of a building license for self-consumption, one of the main barriers to its development, has not yet been eliminated.

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