Number of households with solar panels increased sharply in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
Solar panels Spain

MADRID – In 2021, the number of new self-sufficient energy systems will have more than doubled compared to the previous year. Most solar panels were received by the industrial sector in Spain. However, this number is closely followed by Spanish households opting for sustainable energy. 

This is shown by data from the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), the employers’ organisation in this sector. According to the UNEF, the significant increase is mainly a result of the sky-high electricity price. But also the relaxed procedure for switching to self-sufficiency. For example, 14 of the 17 autonomous regions have now abolished the building permit that was previously required for installing solar panels on the roof. 

Catching up 

In 2021, a total of 1,203 megawatts of energy capacity will be installed in Spain; in 2020 that was less than 595 megawatts. Furthermore, it is expected that the capacity of solar cells will increase even further in the coming years. However, compared to other countries, relatively little use was made of energy from solar panels, despite the favourable climate. Consequently, Spain is catching up!

cogesa expats

Since the so-called solar tax was abolished in 2018, the number of households opting for self-sufficient energy has increased sharply. Before 2018, a surcharge was levied for households that opted for this alternative, but also remained connected to the electricity grid for the hours when insufficient energy was generated. However, between 2019 and 2021, the number of installed solar energy systems nearly tripled. The only obstacle that still seems to exist is the dumping price. This is what energy companies offer for the unused energy that ends up in the energy network. Especially given the current energy price on the wholesale market, these fees are, to put it mildly, too low. 

Further increase expected 

In 2020, 56% of solar panels were installed in the industrial sector, by 2021 that share had fallen to 41%. Relatively speaking, more households, therefore, switched to self-sufficiency last year: that was from 19% (of the total number of installations) in 2020 to 32% in 2021. The remaining percentage was installed at companies in the commercial sector. The UNEF expects the share of the industrial sector to increase again in the coming years, as a result of financing to stimulate green energy from the European emergency fund. 

Related article: Eight out of ten Spaniards consider installing solar panels

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