Promoting photovoltaic self-consumption

By ERNESTO MACÍAS GALÁN, Ganaral Manager of SOLARWATT Spain

Minister of Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera announced upcoming measures from the business association Union Española Fotovoltaica (UNEF) detailing several actions that will facilitate photovoltaic self-consumption in Spain.

Of course, there are obstacles to overcome, such as tolls, cumbersome administrative processes, and bureaucracy with electricity operators. However, this would not qualify as “promoting”; to promote is something different. We have been talking about photovoltaic self-reliance as the great alternative for the impoverished and almost industrially extinct photovoltaic sector for over eight years, after the unfortunate experience that was the feed-in tariff.

Nevertheless, many things have happened in this time. The most important one of that photovoltaic technology became the cheapest energy production from a level of solar radiation that we exceed in almost all of our national territory.

A world of advantages

Therefore, the massive use of this resource deserves a ministerial plan that really “promotes” the use of solar photovoltaic power. And not only by eliminating barriers.

Besides the impressive drop in the price of solar PV panels, domestic self-consumption, as well as, on a smaller scale, commercial and industrial self-consumption; has been benefitted by the irruption of smart storage systems that have emerged to solve one of the problems from the past: intermittent generation.

The German example

Germany has already installed over 100,000 new generation storage systems in just four years. Little by little, the over 1.6 million homes using photovoltaic have started to transition to self-consumption with batteries. Why? Because the German government implemented a sound and sustainable greed-feeding incentive policy that, logically, has been disappearing and has promoted the use of batteries offering incentives for citizens. Not very large or durable, just to kick off a new industrial sector, the battery sector, led by the Germans.

In Spain, we need to start from the easiest part, which relies on citizens living in private houses, nearly 5 percent of the population, and small enterprises. Without neglecting communities, of course. All of this while acknowledging that many times it is difficult to get neighbors to agree and, what is worst; it is common to see a lack of space for the solar facilities.

Ongoing initiatives

There are some municipal initiatives affected by the still existing barriers, such as the partial exemption of the IBI for some years. If the Spanish government really wants to mass distribute self-consumption, it should spend some money in a nation-wide information campaign that can clarify citizens’ doubts and encourage them to invest in self-consumption systems. With regards to the batteries, if a formula works, we should copy it. Let’s copy the German example. In Spain and Europe we have factories and industries that deserve the support. The return on investment will be quick and benefit society at large.

If promoting something consist in seducing with a proposal and offering subsidies to carry it forward, inform citizens and eliminate old bureaucracies. Really promote. And, please, close coal power stations once and for all.

For more information, visit Energía16

See also: The future of energy lies in renewable diversity

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