By Sally Underwood •
Updated: 25 Jan 2023 • 16:51
How to save money on your electricity bills with solar panels in Spain
When installing solar power, it is essential that you hire an experienced, competent and professional company to ensure a successful installation and that all legalisation and registration of the panels is correct. With an average of over 320 days of glorious sunshine and one of the world leaders in concentrated solar power (CSP) production, Spain is the perfect location to benefit from solar power.
If you are considering installing solar panels in Spain, you will need to do your research, learn about the pros and cons and then decide whether harnessing solar energy is the right choice for you.
There’s no doubt that solar panels are a great way to offset energy costs, reduce the environmental impact of your home and provide a host of other benefits, such as supporting local businesses and contributing to energy self-sustainability
With energy bills on the rise during the current climate, that’s exactly why the Euro Weekly News has teamed up with Spanish solar and electricity experts, Energy Nordic, to create a guide with everything you need to know about installing solar panels in your home or business here in Spain, including some of the most frequently asked questions; the costs, whether it is possible to install it yourself, how long installation takes, and how much you will save on your bills… So let’s begin!
In simple terms, solar power is a way of absorbing light radiation from the sun and converting it into energy, using a power generation method, known as the Photovoltaic Effect.
When the sun shines onto a solar panel, energy from the sunlight is absorbed by the PV (photovoltaic) cells in the panel, this energy creates electrical charges that move in response to an internal electrical field in the cell, creating a direct electrical current (DC) which in turn is converted into alternating current (AC) using inverter technology. The AC power is then distributed to the home or back to the grid via an electrical panel.
Not only is it a renewable, clean source of electricity, there are many, many additional advantages to using solar power. It is extremely scalable; this means that it can be deployed on a huge industrial scale, whilst it can also be used to just power a single household.
What’s more, extra electricity that has been generated can be stored in a battery to be used later, or fed back into the electricity grid in exchange for compensation, discounted through your energy bill.
From helping the environment, to lowering energy bills with skyrocketing and unstable market prices, there are a huge number of great reasons to install solar panels at your home or business.
Installing solar at your property can be an exciting time- especially if you are looking forward to cutting down on energy bills- but there will lots of questions you have before you get started.
Here, we aim to cover the most commonly asked about installing solar panels in Spain.
Professionally installed solar systems in Spain can range from €4,000 upwards, but, of course, it depends entirely on the size of the installation that is tailored correctly for the individual consumption requirements of the client, as well as the type of panels and materials used.
This is determined depending on their usual energy consumption, the size of the viable area available to install the solar panels, on their roof usually or in surrounding space, as well as the preferences of the client.
Yes, of course! The installers of solar panels, together with the electricity supply company (eg Energy Nordic) you are contracted with, will send the necessary certificated documents to the town hall and distributor, once the installation has been carried out. Once your distributor approves your “self-consumption” you will start saving money on your bill.
While you can’t actually make money using solar power in Spain, you can save on your electricity bill to the point where the cost of the energy consumed is €0!
It is very important to bear in mind that the maximum value that can be compensated in the electricity bill is the amount of energy purchased. This means that the amount received for compensation can never be negative, nor discount the price of access tolls.
Read more details about Spain´s Real Decree over this here at Art 14.
Yes, now in 2022 it is completely legal to have solar panels installed in your residence or business to generate power. Rules on the installation of solar panels will vary across the autonomous regions in Spain, however, most regions no longer require you to get planning permission unless the installation specifically requires it. The installation of grid-connected solar panels requires certain permissions from both the electricity supplier and the local government in order to have a system that provides compensation for the excess energy you send back – which is why it is important to use a professional and competent company for your installation. Fines may be issued for installation of unauthorized panels without correct permission. Spain’s rooftop solar installs have been doubling almost every year since the government decided in 2018 to scrap the so-called “sun tax” — which was a levy that consumers had to pay to access the national grid once their solar panels were up and running.
For a long time, installing solar panels in homes was made excruciatingly difficult due to what was known as ‘the sun tax’, as well as the various administrative procedures it required. Fortunately now, there is no more sun tax here in Spain since the controversial law was scrapped in 2019 and other measures were introduced to make energy self-sufficiency easier. All you have to do is contact a professional installer and start enjoying the benefits of a solar system! The Spanish government is also promising tax deductions for people who install solar panels, although it has not yet confirmed how much this will be.
We always recommend to contact a professional and experienced company or technician specialised in solar panel installations, due to the complications and, at times, legal difficulties in terms of paperwork and connections specifically to be able to connect them to the network to allow the compensation of excess solar generated electricity.
Of course, there are types of cheaper, DIY solar panels that you may see advertised, but the quality of these panels is evident in the durability of the materials and declining percentage of production overtime, as well as difficulties in connecting and registering with the grid.
There may be certain cases in which you may need to apply for permission for solar panel installation, such as if your property is on an urbanisation or rustic land. In such cases, you may need to get permission from the community of owners or local governments.
“Solar panel payback period” is the amount of time it’ll take you to completely pay off your solar power system through savings on your electric bill. It is calculated by taking the total cost to install the system, then subtracting solar incentives and/or rebates, and monthly electric bill savings until the total cost has been paid off. The reason payback periods differ has to do with the cost of electricity replaced by solar energy and the incentives available to help homeowners go solar. Other factors include roof composition and age, quality of equipment used, and whether you pay in full or choose a solar loan.
Most households in Spain can expect the amortisation period to be between 5 and 10 years depending on sunlight obtained, initial cost, consumed power and the energy tariff of the installation. On average, around 7 years is a realistic payback period for your solar installation here in Spain. how much electricity you use and when you use it, and what you’re paid
Depending on the size of your home or business and your average curves of energy consumption, you may need anything between 2 and 20 solar panels, or more! This depends entirely on the individual consumption requirements of each household, materials used and the space available for the installation. It is also important to consider whether solar batteries are included in the system as then of course, additional power can be saved and used at a later time. Please see the below graphic for a basic guideline.
If you would like to get a custom, tailored quote for solar panels or would like to book a call or home visit to discuss the potential installation of a solar system.
In June, 2021, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved Royal Decree 477/2021 which allows direct grants to autonomous regions, to incentivise the installation of self-consumption and storage units, for both businesses and individuals.
The decree was further updated in May 2022 (Royal Decree 377/2022) incorporating six different incentive programs for residential and business sectors. Note that the programs are currently set to end in December 2023.
The amount of each grant will vary according to the region you are in and the solar panel equipment you wish to install. In Andalucía for example, the local governments have been offering grants of up to 40% for new solar installations to help incentivise residents to consider switching to solar power. There is currently a large waiting list however. Further info regarding this decree can be found at the link here.
Solar panels have a long life span and should provide you with green energy for around 25 years or more (many modern brands will last much longer than that). Fortunately, most solar panels require very little maintenance in order to operate and continue to provide you with your electricity needs. If panels are tilted, any rain will run over them, keeping them free of debris. It should also clean off any dirt or other mess such as bird droppings or build-up of dust which may be obstructing the sunlight. Of course, living in Spain can often mean long periods without much rain, which can mean you have to clean them every so often. In some countries, snow can be an issue, however, this isn’t generally too much of an issue here in Spain. Solar panels are very durable and can withstand extreme weather including snow, rain, hail and high temperatures. If you notice that the amount of energy your panels are generating is on the low side, it may be a good idea to give them a quick check to make sure they are clean enough. It is recommended that you should give them a clean a few times each year. Running a hose over them or using a leaf blower should be sufficient to keep them running efficiently.
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