Spain’s solar power capacity addition of 261.7 MW in 2018, according to UNEF, is a big improvement over previous years, but it pales in comparison with its 'northern' European neighbours Germany and the Netherlands. Both added GW-level solar capacities in 2018
- Spain’s UNEF says the country installed 261.7 MW of new solar power capacity in 2018, increasing 94% YOY
- Self-consumption facilities made up 90% or 235.7 MW of the total capacity in 2018, with 25% coming from grid connected PV systems for agricultural use
- Ground mount solar power plants added 26 MW to the total capacity in 2018, according to UNEF
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Compared to 135 MW of solar PV capacity installed in 2017, Spain did better in 2018 deploying 261.7 MW YoY, which is an increase of 94%, according to provisional figures released by Spanish PV association Union Espanola Fotovoltaica (UNEF).
However, most analysts had anticipated more as the winners of the tender have to install their solar systems by the end of 2019. SolarPower Europe, for example, had been expecting the country to add 750 MW in 2018 (see 12.6 GW PV Forecast For Europe In 2018).
Nonetheless, out of 261.7 MW UNEF says 90% or 235.7 MW came from self-consumption facilities comprising 25% of self-consumption grid-connected projects for agricultural use and 26 MW of solar PV plants on land.
Even though this growth is impressive, it is only around 3% of total installed capacity in Europe estimated to be 8.5 GW. UNEF points at Germany that installed 2.96 GW in 2018 and the Netherlands with its 1.33 GW last year.
What worked for solar in 2018 is the fall in module prices, increase in self-consumption facilities that ensured competitiveness of companies in the market, favourable change in the government’s policies, the European Renewable Directive encouraging adoption of self-consumption systems, among other factors.
In 2019, things will look much better as renewable energy auctions conducted by the Spanish government awarded close to 4 GW to PV all of which is expected to come online by the end of this year (see PV Wins Close To 4 GW In Spanish Auctions).
Regarding distributed solar UNEF is optimistic about the Spanish government’s draft RDL 15/2018 that encourages self-consumption of electricity, calling it a positive development in a society where high rise buildings are increasing in number, even though it agrees there is scope for improvement in the proposal (see Spain Seeks Consultation On RDL 15/2018).