Photovoltaic sector gaining importance in the Spanish economy

The photovoltaic sector is gaining importance in the Spanish economy, as compared with 2016

According to macroeconomic data on the country’s photovoltaic sector in 2017, this technology has increased its weight in the Spanish economy, as compared with 2016. The sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stands at around 0.3 percent, or €3.9 billion in 2017 from €3.7 in 2016, according to a report prepared by the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF).

Furthermore, the sector’s exports reached €938 million (from €919 million in 2016); as estimations indicate that over 70 Spanish companies in the UNEF operate in 72 countries.

The sector has reportedly created more than 19,000 jobs in 2017 (up from 18,377 in 2016); these companies’ R&D expenditure amounted to €60 million in 2016; which increased by 2.5 percent in 2017, 1.6 percent of its turnover and double the average amount in Spain (0.89 percent). Moreover, its activity is expected to reduce emissions by 3,631 ktco2.

The photovoltaic sector calls for clear rules

In order to set clear rules and generate incentives in the sector, UNEF has asked the government to implement measures aimed at increasing legal security by guaranteeing stable remuneration for old PV solar projects throughout their useful life.

Regarding self-consumption, it asks to eliminate the established fees and tolls. It also requests the simplification, administrative security, and regulation of collective self-consumption; updating and simplifying access and connection to the grid, and organizing new tenders in the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

In this sense, the UNEF, which represents over 85 percent of the sector, is calling for: the creation of a Law for Energy Transition and Climate Change, in line with the targets established in the Paris Agreement.

Players in the sector are also calling to establish a new market system for renewable energies; new environmental taxes; restructuring electricity rates; promoting electrification, and supporting the sector’s internationalization, in particular SMEs.

Changing trends

As part of its annual report, the UNEF presented the numbers for the evolution of the photovoltaic sector during 2017 in Spain. These results evidence a turning point for the industry, as well as a change of course.

This change was determined, among other factors, by the 3.9 GW of new generation capacity awarded during the tender held in June 2017; the sector’s technological competitiveness and progressively lower production costs; renewable energy penetration in the energy mix, defined in the European Union’s legal framework, and materialized today in the new European Renewable Energy Directive; and growing awareness regarding the development of self-consumption as an efficient and indisputable measure for energy saving and emissions reduction.

For more information, check Energía16

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