Photovoltaic self-sufficiency flourishes. The installed power on Spanish rooftops doubled in 2021, going from 527 MW to 1,203 MW, according to data from the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF). The energy crisis –in March the megawatt hour (MWh) cost 550 euros, estimated the Iberian Energy Market Operator, ten times more than a year earlier–, the pressing need to tackle climate change –which involves reducing dependence of fossil fuels– and the continuous technological improvement of solar panels are the factors that explain its boom.
Added to its expansion today is the thrust of the Next Generation EU European funds, which promote the energy transition towards a decarbonized economy and contemplate 660 million euros, expandable to 1,320 million euros, in aid for individuals and companies that want to apply this clean supply. José Donoso, president of UNEF, affirms that the aid will underpin the take-off of this alternative: “The demonstration effect is extremely important. If you see that your neighbor has it and it works for him, you will want it too. It is the way to break the inertia”. In Spain, one of the countries with the most hours of sunshine in Europe, these funds will support more than 300,000 new projects, UNEF forecasts.
In essence, a photovoltaic panel absorbs the sun’s rays and converts them into electrical current. Íñigo Amoribieta, managing director of the installation company Otovo for Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Ireland, describes a typical installation: “For a single-family home with a consumption of about 6,000 KW/h per year, we would need about ten photovoltaic modules that would generate a peak of four MW and would occupy a space of about 20 square meters”. Its price, adds Amoribieta, would be around 5,000-6,000 euros. If it is complemented with a battery, which enables the storage of energy for later use, the amount of the purchase almost doubles.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
Continuing with this example, the estimated savings in consumption and, consequently, in the energy bill, can range between 30%-50% for a simple installation, and up to 80% if the aforementioned battery is added. “The ideal is to request a quote from an installation company that, based on technical issues such as the available space, the orientation of the installation and the consumption profile of the home, prepare a project proposal that will include an installed power, a percentage of self-consumption and the modality that is recommended to take advantage of the surpluses”, explains José Donoso.
That use of surpluses that Donoso cites is another source of savings. Juli Paya, commercial director of the Engel Solar installation company, details that this system allows surplus energy, the excess energy produced, to be transferred to the electrical network and then receive remuneration for what the consumer pays to the distributors when their plates are inactive. and you need to resort to the conventional network. “In other words, in addition to spending less, there is a compensation that will be deducted each month from the electricity bill and that could mean additional savings of up to 30%”. And he points out: “We must bear in mind that the price of surpluses cannot exceed the price of the energy we consume. At most, it will be possible to compensate the energy produced with that consumed and the balance could be left at zero”.
Subsidies of up to 50% in the installation
In addition to the savings in the photovoltaic bill itself, the Next Generation EU aid subsidizes a good part of the amount of the installation. José Donoso, from UNEF, details that the amount depends on the program requested, but outlines a general case: “In a residential installation of less than 10 kWp (kilowatt peak, the maximum power generated by a solar panel) without a battery, storage the aid would reach EUR 600/kWp. If the installation is located in a municipality with less than 5,000 inhabitants, an additional aid of EUR 55/kWp will be included in the 600 EUR/kWp”.
Returning to the initial example, that of a single-family home with ten photovoltaic modules, a generation peak of four MW and a cost of around 5,000-6,000 euros, the subsidy would amount to 2,400 euros.
There are also other complementary aids to these European subsidies. One of them is the deduction in the personal income tax. “If requested in the income statement, up to 20% of the investment in the photovoltaic installation can be recovered. To do this, you have to be the owner of the property and prove that the project has been carried out by a specialized and authorized company”, Paya expands. Other taxes that can be reduced are the Real Estate Tax (IBI) and the Tax on Constructions, Installations and Works (ICIO). And certain autonomous communities also offer their own aid for solar self-consumption projects.
High demand, processing and financing
José Donoso, from UNEF, warns that in some parts of the country the requests have quadrupled the existing budget: “The important thing is that the projects are awarded so that there is no brake on the industry.” “And we must bear in mind that this is limited aid that is granted in order of presentation of the applications, so at this time it cannot be guaranteed that 100% of the applicants can benefit from this package. The demand for solar installations is very high and funds are limited”, continues Juli Paya.
To speed up the process and resolution of projects as much as possible, installation companies, such as Engel Solar or Otovo, also act as facilitators who guide and help the consumer in applying for subsidies. models are common key on handin which the installer assumes the bureaucratic procedures of the photovoltaic plant, including its legalization and registration, and the delivery ready for use.
These services are combined with others of a financial nature. Carmen Urraca, Director of European Funds at Banco Sabadell, affirms that the cost of energy is a topic of great interest and topicality: “That is why self-consumption is a great opportunity for citizens”. The entity offers personalized financing solutions for these photovoltaic projects. “The goal is to accompany the client from start to finish,” she adds. The entity has a network of territorial offices and managers to provide information and resolve doubts about European funds Next Generation EU.
Aid available for the ecological transition
For self-consumption and storage facilities
One of the most important items of the energy transition, 660 million euros, expandable to 1,320 million depending on demand, will be used to promote facilities self-consumption with renewable sources. Three actions stand out within the plan: aid for electricity self-consumption (with a minimum of 20% of the budget and a higher amount for municipalities with a demographic challenge and self-employed); self-consumption of thermal renewables (with aid to SMEs of between 40% and 45%); and biomass boilers (with aid between 550 euros and 13,500 euros per home depending on the technology used).
For the purchase of sustainable propulsion vehicles (MOVES)
Plan endowed with 400 million euros (expandable to 800 by 2023) to support the purchase of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, in addition to nurturing urban recharging infrastructures.
The aid finances the purchase of vehicles and private charging systems (MOVESIII), the acquisition of vehicle fleets (MOVES FLEET), good practices in mobility (SINGULAR MOVES) or the change of heavy transport vehicles, managed by the autonomous communities with a budget from the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda. As a general rule, the greater the number of vehicles, the greater the aid.
For the energy rehabilitation of buildings in municipalities facing the demographic challenge (PREE 5000)
Aid amounting to 50 million euros for energy rehabilitation such as the improvement of the thermal envelope of buildings, the energy efficiency of thermal installations or lighting systems. Funding can exceed 60% of the budget. Supplementary aid is contemplated for vulnerable groups.
For investments in clean energy projects in municipalities facing the demographic challenge (DUS 5000)
Aimed at accelerating the Sustainable Urban Development (DUS), this program received in just one week almost a thousand requests from local entities in municipalities with a demographic challenge, which caused the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge to increase the budget from 75 million to 325 million. The plan finances renewable electricity and thermal generation facilities, improvements to the thermal envelope of municipal buildings, electric mobility or demand management systems. The aid starts at 85% and can reach 100% of the investment.
For the constitution of energy communities
Charged to the Next Generation EU fund, some 100 million euros will be allocated to the creation of energy communities and will be articulated in three programs: CE-Learn, CE-Plan and CE-Implement. The goal is to facilitate the creation of these communities from scratch, a process supported by the network of Community Transformation Offices.
For energy efficiency in industry and agricultural facilities
Companies and freelancers must go to the autonomous communities to request aid, since they are the ones that manage the programs.
Drafting: Jaime Ripa
Editorial coordination: Juan Antonio Carbajo
Design: John Sanchez
Developing: Rudolph Mata
Design coordination: Adolfo Domenech