Solar Market Growth in Spain Takes the Lead

We are kicking off 2021 by highlighting the solar markets at the Top 5 EU, as identified in our most recent EU Business Outlook for European Photovoltaics Business Development. In 2020, Spain was the EU’s third-largest solar market.

Without auctions, the PPA/merchant segment has accounted for all of Spain’s new energy. This is a monumental achievement: it is the first time in Europe that this volume of capacity has been grid-connected without the use of public subsidies or auctions. This is an effective positive indicator for solar and demonstrates the competitiveness of photovoltaic technology in Spain.

UNEF estimated that the new capacity would be around 2-3 GW at the utility scale by 2020. According to survey data taken from the end of October, 1 – 450 MWDC of PV power was added to utility-scale plants. Spain added 2,600 MWDC of new solar energy in total.

Additionally, the residential sector of Spain is performing better than anticipated. Fiscal incentives in some jurisdictions and pandemic-related mobility constraints mean that people are trying to increase their savings and are more likely to invest in residential-focused solar energy systems.

The Future of Solar Growth in Spain

In the future, solar growth will be fueled by the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) of Spain, which was approved this year and includes a target of 74 percent renewable electricity generation and 39.2 GWDC of solar PV capacity by 2030. Starting at around 10 GW today, this indicates that the annual new PV capacity would need to be around 2.8 GW to meet the NECP goals over the next decade.

Additionally, the Spanish government endorsed Royal Decree 960/2020, which establishes a new renewable energy remuneration scheme based on a specific price per unit of energy produced and to be awarded via auctions. Spain held the first auction for 3GW of sustainable renewable energy capacity just this week.

In addition, solar is part of Spain’s goal to ensure that its citizens maintain their economic and environmental viability by putting them at the forefront of new energy sources. Currently, the country is in the process of undertaking a National Self-Consumption Initiative that is intended to promote such dynamics as ‘energy societies.'” Additionally, the Strategy will look at the countries’ self-supply and potential and target utilization of the amount of installed capacity in 2030.

In addition to the current issues that the Spanish market should resolve is concerned with establishing term and subscriber privileges and with the implementation of the network access regulations. It’s time to get back to the drawing board because the authorization process needs to be redone. Previous actions are no longer needed as they are detailed above, which could result in bottlenecks in the entire process.

Concerning network access, the current procedure, dating all the way back to 2000, has been criticized for its lengthy duration, lack of clarity, and asymmetric detail. In January 2021, the Royal Decree on access and connection will address these concerns and ensure that power is allocated to higher-development projects. This should guarantee that Spain remains one of Europe’s top five GW industries for the coming years.

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