Solar panel installation skyrockets in Catalonia to pay 12 euros a month for electricity

The constant escalation of electricity price aroused the interest of many consumers to “disconnect” from traditional electrical system. One of the most common formulas for this are the models of Personal consumption based on the installation of solar panels there Battery which make it possible to cut more than 90% of the electricity bill and end up paying, in a Family house type of 100 square meters, bills of about 12 euros per month. Currently, in Catalonia, there are a few 27,000 installs of self-consumption, but the companies dedicated to their implementation confirm that summer has arrived accompanied by a disproportionate increase in new orders. The subsidies and the fear of a winter marked by energy problems has supported this booming sector since the pandemic.

“The facilities of photovoltaic self-consumption they are profitable on their own. They already were a year ago. Now, with the current prices of electricity and the cost which is more and more reduced, they come out even more on invoice”, explains to ACN the director of the Catalan Energy Institute, Marta Morera. According to Government calculations, the available solar self-consumption installations have a capacity of production more than 200 megawatts.

From 420 projects to 13,000 in four years

As can be seen on the counter of the Observatory of self-consumption in Catalonia, the number of these nearly self-sufficient domestic factories has grown exponentially over the past four years. Thus, while 420 were launched in 2018, this figure has multiplied by more than 10 in two years. However, between 2020 and 2021, the number of new projects also increased significantly, from 5,800 in 2020 to almost 13,000 last year.

For this year 2022, the graph shows a certain stabilizationthat the sector attributes to an element: there is no workforce enough to cope with all request generated by the increase in the cost of light and the effect of european scholarships. “This year, we had to quadruple our workforce and our team had to make a very big effort,” he admits to ACN. Frank Cominobusinessman from Olot, expert in energy saving and responsible for the German battery and plate company Sonnen in Spain.

“Boom” in private homes

“The big ‘boom’ we have now is residential, then industrial will come, surely,” he predicts. According to him, the interest of installing solar panels and reducing dependence on the traditional electrical system has greatly increased among private consumers. It also provides for a similar process between those responsible for companies and factoriesthe sectors most exposed to a winter where energy restrictions and rationing can become habitual if geopolitical tensions for the ukrainian war they encyst

Pay 12 euros for electricity

Comino illustrates the radical effect of self-consumption from an attic of king’s mills. There, his company installed a plate system and a small battery on the terrace. With a total investment amounting to 15,000 euros (including subsidies), their owners, a family that also has a Electric car that he charges in the parking lot of the building, reduced his electricity bill by 90%.

Legally, they cannot be disconnected from the system, but the amount of light they absorb is negligible, only during hours of high consumption due to air conditioning or electrical appliances. As he says, you just have to compare this figure with what many citizens pay for the gym or for the subscription to a typical video platform netflix to see the magnitude of the savings.

Lack of skilled labor

The ace installer associations of Catalonia confirm this unprecedented boom in demand for plates, batteries and self-sufficiency mechanisms electricity since the start of Russian invasion of Ukraine and increasing light. As told Raul Rodriguezdirector of the Federation of Installers Corporations of Cataloniathere has been an “exponential” growth despite the lack of skilled labor and the obstacles that the local world imposes on this type of project with administrative barriersfiscal and bureaucratic.

“There are a lot of installation companies that currently don’t have enough manpower to complete this type of project. Some have four or five month waiting lists to be able to complete it. “, he says. According to their figures, there was a quarterly increase of more than 20% in projects completed thanks to the acceleration of public grants. Without a hitch, that figure would be even higher, as the demand today is almost insatiable.

Disconnect or not?

Several experts consulted confirm the rise of self-consumption in Catalonia and agree to attribute it more to an economic issue than to a sudden interest in sustainability. However, some of these voices warn that “disconnecting” from the traditional electricity grid is not the definitive solution to the problems of an electricity system where waste and a lack of sovereignty in production still weigh heavily with the outbreak of war. .

“The problem with that is that they are intermittent systemsdon’t get me wrong, they depend a lot on the climatology, sun and wind. The difference with other energies such as atomic energy, which is constant, or fossil fuelsthat you can activate and deactivate them whenever you want, is important”, warns Joan Anton Rosprofessor of economics and finance at UPF-BSM.

Model with difficult energy storage

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He also warns that another difficulty with this model is the storage, because the batteries are very expensive and it is not possible to reserve large amounts of energy. “Inevitably, the best option now is to stay connected to the network,” he summarizes.

For her part, Laura Garcia, member of the energy commission of the College of Industrial Engineers of Catalonia She has pledged to launch “a lot of renewable energies” to deal with electrification and the energy transition. “This involves distributed generation, through energy communities or self-consumption of electricity, and also with larger power generation plants,” he explains. However, it highlights the interest of these “autonomous” models to promote the “distributed generation” of energy production, thus reducing the weight of large power plants, whether solar, wind, nuclear or combined cycle. .

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