UNEF’s Annual Report has been presented this week. During a press conference, the Spanish PV Union (UNEF) has shared the main figures of evolution of the photovoltaic sector in 2018, which show that this technology is the cheapest way to produce electricity for those countries with good solar resources.
The leadership of PV technology in the expansion of renewable energies is mainly due to its increasing economic competitiveness, as its costs fell up to 95% in the last decade and still has room to continue reducing in the next years.
The PV sector in Spain and its key role in the energy transition
In Spain, PV continues to grow thanks to the development of self-consumption: of the 262 MW of new PV capacity added in 2018, 90% corresponds to this type of installation, while the remaining 10% (26 MW) refers to PV utility plants connected to the grid.
Compared to 2017, when 135 MW were installed, the PV capacity added in 2018 increased by 94%. Spain already reaches a total of 5.1 GW of accumulated PV capacity.
This growth of the photovoltaic sector has generated a positive impact also on the economic and social level. The contribution of the photovoltaic sector to the national GDP has grown by 19% compared to 2017, reaching 5,119 million euros, and the total number of jobs generated by the sector exceeded 29,000, with a 19% increase compared to the previous year.
As for the energy policy, the highlights of 2018 are the presentation of the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), which sets an objective of 27 new GW of PV capacity to be added by 2030, and the approval of a new regulation for self-consumption that eliminates the “sun-tax”, recognizes the right to collective self-consumption, administrative and technical simplification, legal certainty and non-retroactivity.
Challenges and opportunities for the PV sector
In 2019, UNEF foresees between 3 and 4 GW of new PV capacity of utility-scale projects to be added. The main challenge is related to the definition of a transparent process to grant grid connection permits.
As for self-consumption, UNEF foresees that it will continue to grow at a sustained rate. Within the new regulatory framework, some 300-400 MW of new capacity will be added. The main challenges are related to the reform of the electricity bill structure, that has to be carried out respecting the principles of the energy transition, to avoid creating a barrier to self-consumption, energy efficiency or electric vehicle.