By Claire Gordon • 19 November 2021 • 14:39
Rooftop solar energy companies say that a growing number of people are looking to take advantage of the sunshine as Spanish electricity prices soar. The demand for gas post-pandemic, mixed with tighter-than-usual supplies have seen people’s energy bills skyrocket.
“We saw how energy bills were going up, and people were talking about whether we will have supply problems, so I decided it was the right time (for solar)”, said Ester Banales to Reuters, as she was getting solar panels installed on her roof.
Demand is booming according to the Norwegian company Otovo, which was completing the installation just outside of Madrid. “In the case of Spain, we are talking about where we had one customer interested last year, we have three today”, said Inigo Amoribieta, who is in charge of Otovo’s Spanish business.
There has been a rise of around 12% in Spanish electricity prices since 2018, and under one widely-used tariff, they were 50% higher in the first two weeks of November than in the same period last year, according to consumer association FACUA.
Banales has installed an inverter alongside her panels so she can change the raw power into electricity she can use. This has cost her around 7,600 euros but she expects to recoup that quickly given the rising costs of mains electricity.
Spanish renewable energy trade group APPA says that if prices stay at current highs, home solar systems could save 40-60% on annual power bills. With government subsidies of some 900 million euros, complemented by local tax breaks, the cost would be redeemed in five years, APPA says. Since 2018, when Spain lifted a charge on excess power going back to the grid, known as a “sun tax”, independent generation has become a way for Spaniards to “vaccinate” themselves against high prices, said Jose Donoso, head of solar association UNEF.
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