What is happening in Spain with self-consumption and the change of Government?

¿Qué está pasando en España con el autoconsumo y el cambio de Gobierno?After the change of Government and the appointment of Teresa Ribera as the new Minister of Ecological Transition (Ministry that integrates Energy and Environment) opens a hopeful future for the renewable sector. The self-consumption and the derogation of the famous “sun tax” is on everyone’s lips, in the media and on the streets. Now we are going to analyze in what point we are and what are the expected changes in both the short and medium term.

What can we expect from Teresa Ribera regarding Self-consumption?

Some of the clues given by the new Minister of the Government of Pedro Sanchez make us glimpse where the energy policy of our country will turn. In the first place, it is committed to smart and renewable energy consumption, which makes SotySolar a success. In its first statements, it has emphasized the compensation cuts suffered by renewable energies due to the previous executive, has imposed as a priority the updating of the pricing system of the electricity bill, and regarding its opinion on the closure of nuclear power plants clearer the water : “I do not believe that the cost of closing the nuclear power plants is greater than that we continue to generate more nuclear waste or because we have to deal with more security for its maintenance and extension over time.”

To achieve his goals during his term, he intends to:

  • Develop a Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition in order to reduce harmful emissions with actions such as the prohibition of fracking, the repeal of the sun tax and the regulation of regulated gas and electricity costs.
  • Modify the current Public Procurement Law to include the new environmental and climatic requirements that will be applicable to all contractors and suppliers.
  • Create a Green Fund financed by the CO2 tax and that favors sustainable mobility with electric vehicles, the energy energetic transition towards self-consumption and distributed generation and the implementation of energy efficiency measures in all areas and sectors.
  • Develop a State Plan for Sustainable Rehabilitation of Housing and Urban Regeneration with the objective of rehabilitating more than 200,000 homes a year compared to the 23,000 currently rehabilitated. This Plan will generate more than 200,000 jobs.




What will happen to the Sun Tax?

Everything points to its repeal, that is clear, the important thing will be to know when. But first let’s talk about where we are now.

In January 2017, the attempt to overthrow the Sun Tax was paralyzed in Congress after the opposition of Citizens and the Popular Party. That was a long time ago and the situation has turned 360º.

Teresa Ribera has declared clearly that one of its main objectives is to repeal the tax on the sun and for that it is already working on a bill. One month before its landing in the government, the opposition parties with the exception of the Coalition Canary Islands once again rescue the Proposed Law of Urgent Measures for the Promotion of Electric Self-Consumption.

But, what is the Sun Tax?

The sun tax or backup toll as it is called in the self-consumption RD 900/2015 is a toll that regulates the technical and economic conditions of the different modes of self-consumption :

  • The tax does not apply to self-consumption facilities with power below 10 kW, so it does not affect the majority of domestic dwellings.
  • In self-consumption installations of more than 10 kW of installed power if this tax must be satisfied and there are modalities according to whether it sells the surplus energy or not.

In the next months, we will have news about it. But the idea seems clear. Self-consumption without any surcharge, with a net balance and with a simplified administrative record.

Shared self-consumption and Neighborhood Communities

Another of the main objectives is to give green light to shared self-consumption. The Constitutional Court repealed the articles of RD 900/2015 that regulated shared self-consumption in neighborhood communities. Nowadays there is a legal vacuum. The Autonomous Communities are responsible for regulating shared self-consumption but are waiting for the Central Government to express its opinion in this regard.

Allowing self-consumption in neighborhood communities means that the vast majority of the more than 25 million homes in our country would benefit directly from this measure. Currently, the owners who live in neighborhood communities are limited in terms of self-consumption since they can only install solar panels to save on the costs of community lighting.

Imagine a scenario where all citizens could enjoy self-consumption. Green employment would skyrocket. With this new ministry, it seems possible.

Installation of self-consumption and average savings

In the Report on the Situation of Residential and Commercial Solar Self-consumption in Spain published a few months ago, we indicated that the average bill for Spanish households was 127 euros and that with a self-consumption facility with current legislation the average saving was 34 % with an average investment of € 3,885 with an amortization of between 7-8 years.

This makes that currently, self-consumption is a real and profitable option but …

How would the net balance affect the amortization of solar panel installations?

If we take into account that:

  • the prices of photovoltaic will continue to fall, – in the period 2010-2017 the price of photovoltaic solar energy has fallen by 76% – and today is one of the cheapest options for generating energy,

and if we assume that

  • the net balance is implanted in our country with which the surplus of energy poured into the network is justly paid,
  • and that the installations of solar panels are encouraged

amortizations would be less than 5 years and would have a triple function: curbing climate change, generating employment and boosting the economy.

The net balance will arrive. It’s a matter of time.

Self-consumption is in luck

The objective is clear: we aspire to a 100% renewable future. But how? First, we must have confidence in the new Government. The words are not facts but everything indicates that there is the will in our country to decarbonize completely and finally bet on cleaner and more efficient energies. And this is where self-consumption with solar panels comes into play.

It’s time to say goodbye to coal and nuclear power. And although the farewell will be staggered, the time has come to bet on renewables being self-consumption the center of the new energy model.

In a time horizon of 15-20 years we can reach renewable generation quotas of 70% where solar, wind and geothermal energy will play a lesser role.

For this, as we have seen throughout the article should reform the energy policy, encourage shared self-consumption in conjunction with distributed generation, promote the net balance and sustainable mobility with the electric car being an essential element in family life

Now we just have to wait. The next months will be decisive. The past was black as coal but the future of ours is children will be green, of that there is no doubt.