The Spaniards are increasingly resorting to installing solar panels, especially with the recorded rise in fuel prices, which constitutes an opportunity for Spain to reduce its lag in this sector, which has very great potential.
“There’s sunshine almost all year round,” says Paloma Otrera, pointing to the rooftop solar panels of her home in Pozuelo de Alarcón, a well-to-do neighborhood on the outskirts of Madrid. “You should take advantage of the sun’s rays,” Basma adds.
Similar to what many Spaniards have done in recent months, this employee in the aviation sector turned to what is called “personal consumption” represented by people producing the energy they need themselves, and in September she installed 13 solar panels in her home with a production capacity of 4,000 watts. 5 kW.
The 50-year-old woman says that this step is not a “simple investment”, but it is worth the money, especially with the “help” provided by the state and the “savings” it adopts in terms of energy consumption, noting that her bills have halved since the beginning of autumn.
The company, “Ingle Solar”, which installed the panels, says that the latter guarantee “50 to 80%” of the energy needed by the family. Joaquin Gasca, the commercial director of the company, which includes 200 employees, confirms that the matter is “interesting in light of the current electricity prices.”
Within two years, the company’s revenues, which were founded in 2005 in Barcelona, have increased five times, while it expects a further increase in its revenues in 2023. “Demands are collapsing on us,” Gaska says, referring to “amazing activity” in the company.
“sinks” or “roofs”
“Personal consumption” did not witness a demand in Spain as it is currently recorded, driven by the fuel crisis resulting from the Ukrainian war on the one hand, and the aid related to the European recovery plan.
“Solar panels were not widespread a year ago on rooftops in Spanish cities and villages, but today the whole situation has changed,” says a specialist in renewable energies at Minta Energia.
As for the Secretary General of the Spanish Solar Energy Federation, José Donoso, he makes the same observation. And he explains that the Spaniards “notice that their neighbors are adopting personal consumption, and see them happy and saving money, which encourages them to take the same step.”
The association, which includes 780 companies in the solar energy sector, indicates that the “quantity of panels installed” in homes in 2022 exceeded two thousand megawatts, which is almost double that of 2021 (1203 megawatts), and four times higher than what was recorded in 2020 (596 megawatts). ).
Donoso asserts that solar energy has become a “very competitive” field, because its cost is now 90% lower than it was 14 years ago,” noting that “people have realized that they have to invest their money in installing panels on the roofs of their homes instead of depositing them in banks.”
“tax on the sun”
This boom for the sector is a recovery. Spain, the first country in Europe in terms of exposure to sunlight, was 15 years ago one of the most successful countries in the field of solar energy, but the crisis that affected the year 2008 hindered growth in the sector and Madrid witnessed a decline in this regard compared to a large number of European countries.
The result of this decline was an end to the subsidies provided by the state to the sector. Then, in 2015, the conservative government imposed a tax on households that produce electricity and transferred part of the quantities produced to the public grid, in a move its critics described as a “tax on the sun.”
This mechanism, which according to environmental activists was adopted under pressure from major energy companies worried about competition, was abandoned after a left-wing party assumed power in 2018 and strengthened its aid to this sector.
And Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez confirmed at the end of October that personal consumption makes it possible to liberate “from the big energy groups,” expecting that solar energy capacities will reach 39 thousand megawatts by 2030, of which 9 to 14 thousand will come from personal consumption.