Spain already has 5,249 megawatts (MW) of accumulated installed capacity of self-consumption. The data is from the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), which has just published its 2022 balance sheet. According to this document, photovoltaic (PV) self-consumption (PV) installed in Spain in the last twelve months has grown by 108% compared to 2021. In 2022, 2,507 MW of new solar PV capacity was installed in the country in self-consumption facilities (compared to only 1,203 MW in 2021). The industry association believes that there would already be around 200,500 residential installations with self-consumption in Spain. "The good data - UNEF explains - highlight the need for the solar energy sector in Spain to train, attract and retain professionals".
According to data recorded by the Spanish Photovoltaic Union, an association that already has 770 companies, 2,507 MW of new installed capacity of solar energy were installed in self-consumption facilities in 2022. As for the distribution by sectors, most of this new capacity, 47%, has been installed - UNEF reports - in the industrial sector; 32% has gone to the residential sector; 20%, to the commercial sector; and the remaining 1%, to isolated self-consumption.
According to the annual study carried out by the Spanish Photovoltaic Union, the industry association estimates that there are already around 200,500 residential installations with self-consumption in Spain. However, the sector that has increased its installation percentage the most in 2022, from 41% to 47%, has been the industrial sector.
José Donoso, CEO of UNEF: "the high electricity prices, due to the uncertainty caused after the invasion of Ukraine, as well as the boost of the aids contemplated within the Government's Recovery Funds have generated that self-consumption continues to break records in our country. In addition, the first collective self-consumption projects are starting to be put into operation, a trend that will continue to grow and boost the sector even more."
Donoso recalls that the simplification of administrative barriers to self-consumption and the elimination of building permits in practically all the Autonomous Communities, only the Basque Country maintains it, is positioning Spain once again at the forefront of clean and competitive energy generation.
"The progressive elimination of administrative barriers and local incentives have also led more and more individuals to become self-consumers, which is generating a demonstration effect that will make self-consumption become a common element in our homes and businesses," added the general director of UNEF.
According to UNEF's data, self-consumption has far surpassed the milestone of five gigawatts in 2022, which denotes a cruising speed much higher than that required to meet the objectives expressed by the Government in its Self-consumption Roadmap. In that document, the Executive set a 2030 target of 9,000 megawatts (normal scenario) or 14,000 megawatts (optimal scenario). The degree of compliance with this target, as of December 31, 2022, is therefore extraordinary: more than 50% of the normal scenario target, when there are still seven years to go until 2030 (or 37% for the optimal scenario).
"Self-consumption will continue the growing trend of this year, just look at the progression it has experienced after the elimination of the Sun Tax in 2018: in 2019 it obtained 459 MW of power, 596 MW in 2020, 1,203 MW in 2021 and 2507 GW in 2022," Donoso stressed.
Generation and recruitment of professionals, the challenge for the sector
The good data presented by the Spanish Photovoltaic Union regarding the growth of self-consumption highlight the need for the solar energy sector in Spain to train, attract and retain professionals so that this growth trend can be sustained over time.
For this reason, the majority solar energy sector association in Spain is carrying out a line of work to mitigate the lack of professionals, which has already been detected by the sector, through the development of a specific Training Plan and coordinated work with training centers and universities.
The Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF) defines itself as "the sector association for photovoltaic solar energy in Spain". Made up of more than 770 companies, entities and groups from the entire technology value chain, it represents more than 90% of the sector's activity in Spain and brings together practically all of them: producers, installers, engineering firms, manufacturers of raw materials, modules and components, distributors and consultants. UNEF also holds the presidency and co-secretariat of FotoPlat, the Spanish photovoltaic technology platform. The platform brings together universities, research centers and leading companies in photovoltaic R&D in Spain.