• Spain has officially put in place measures that encourage consumers and promote the adoption of self-consumption of power in the country
  • The country’s Council of Ministers have approved RDL 15/2018 through which consumers are eligible to deploy systems for self-consumption of power, and also export excess back to the grid and get remunerated for the same
  • End consumers, including SMEs and local authorities too are at liberty to become power generators
  • UNEF expects this model to encourage 400 MW of installations across the country on an annual basis

With the Spanish Council of Ministers approving the Royal Decree-Law (RDL) 15/2018, the self-consumption power mechanism has come into effect in the Southern European country. It will truly benefit solar rooftop operators, overcoming the dark era of the infamous sun tax that was applicable for grid connected behind-the-meter distributed generation and storage systems that kept Spain’s distributed solar market a close to nil for many years.

The Ministry of Ecological Transition had sought consultation on proposals for RDL 15/2018 relating to self-consumption of electricity earlier this year (see Spain Seeks Consultation On RDL 15/2018).

Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF) welcomes RDL 15/2018 which it says will create a stable and free market framework for the development of self-consumption. It expects this model to encourage some 400 MW of self-consumption installations across the country – annually.

Consumers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and local authorities are now at liberty to generate their own power, consume, manage and store it. It also paves the way for a community self-consumption power model. There will be remuneration for exporting excess electricity back to the grid under the new rules.

Drawing comparisons between Germany that has more than 1.8 million self-consumption PV installations and even cloudier Great Britain where such installations have exceeded 800,000, Spanish daily newspaper El País points out sunny Spain was left far behind thanks to the ‘punishment and persecution of solar energy’ with the sun tax.

In 2018, Spain’s cumulative installed solar power capacity reached 261.7 MW of which nearly all – 235.7 MW – was self-consumption capacity (see Spain Installed 261.7 MW Solar In 2018). However, this year the Spanish market is expected to exceed 4 GW though mostly due to tender related utility-scale systems.

“The new regulation provides for the elimination of economic barriers by eliminating charges and tolls for self-consumed energy and energy storage systems. In addition, it eliminates administrative barriers by simplifying the procedures for small-scale self-consumption facilities and introduces the economic compensation of surplus clean energy discharged to the network through net billing,” said UNEF.

The new measures are in line with the Clean Energy for all Europeans package which was approved by the European Parliament in March 2019 (see European Electricity New Market Design Proposal Passed).