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Produce and share. The path to the generation of renewable and sustainable energy passes through solar communities and community self-consumption. More and more groups of people come together in Spain to share the electricity generated on their roofs or in other buildings by photovoltaic roofs. Clean, close and cooperative energy with adjusted costs. There are already several autonomous communities that promote electricity self-consumption. The future is here.
With some delay compared to most of the countries of the European Union (until 2018 shared self-consumption was not allowed in Spain) the first energy communities in the country began to function. In fact, there are already about two hundred solar communities in Spain.
The Self-Consumption Law of 2019 allows us to produce electricity in common, dump excess energy into the grid and charge for it. In the case of private buildings, current regulations stipulate that an agreement of 33% of a community is necessary to install photovoltaic solar panels, regardless of the number of people who are going to enjoy it.
Collective self-consumption | Pixabay
The latest solar community project has just been made public in Asturias. The Government of the Principality, the City Council of Aller and Repsol have signed an agreement for the development of two solar communities for collective self-consumption of renewable electricity in that municipality.
In Aller they will install photovoltaic panels in schools from the towns of Moreda and Cabañaquinta to supply the centers themselves, as well as businesses and residents within a radius of 500 meters.
Fight against ‘energy poverty’
In addition to contributing to decarbonization, the project also aims to fight against “energy poverty & rdquor;. Hence, additional discounts are announced to residents in social housing and small businesses.
Aller’s solar communities will allow a part of users’ electrical energy needs to be 100% renewable, which will lower their bill. Some studies suggest that this type of installation represents a saving of close to 40% for users. It’s the first public-private cooperation experience for the deployment of solar communities for self-consumption in Asturias. The authorities aspire to extend this model to other areas of the autonomous community.
“We are convinced that this project will be successful because it combines several elements: fight against climate change and energy poverty; awareness in energy and environmental matters, being located in an educational center, and the generation of economic activity linked to the territory & rdquor ;, highlighted the Minister of Industry of the Principality, Enrique Fernández.
But that of Aller is just one of the many examples of solar communities promoted in recent months in Spain. One of the most unique is that of the San Mamés stadium, headquarters of the Atletic Club de Bilbao.
The stadium of ‘the lions’ hosts the first solar community of the Spanish soccer league and it will supply 100% renewable energy to all homes in the area that want it and that are at most 500 meters away.
300 solar equipment with a total power of 100 kW have been deployed on the roof of the sports facility. A figure that not only covers the needs of all the stadium facilities, but also supplies the neighborhood.
The project shows that to consume solar energy it is not necessary to own a single-family home and installing photovoltaic panels on the roof itself, a difficult requirement to meet in a country where 66.5% of the population lives in flats located in building blocks, according to Eurostat data.
Panels in a block of flats | Pixabay
Another formula that is spreading in Spain for the consumption of solar energy is the one arising from neighborhood alliances to create cooperatives, who are in charge of building and managing a community photovoltaic plant. This type of initiative is included in what is known as ‘distributed generation’. In Madrid, for example, the San Viator school has adhered to this energy model.
Users of these models remain connected to the electricity grid, which guarantees supply at all times, including nights and rainy days.
Renewable generation cooperatives represent another step in the fight against climate change and in the empowerment of citizens, since consumers manage to play an active role in the management of the facilities and in the generation of their own energy.
The success of this type of energy model is demonstrated by verifying that 2020 ended with the installation of 4,639 MW of new renewable power, of which 623 MW corresponded to self-consumption facilities, 13.5% of the total, according to a study by the Association of Renewable Energy Companies (APPA).
Savings on electricity bills
According to this group, self-consumption, from a practical point of view, allows users to “favor the energy transition and the fight against climate change while saving on their electricity bill & rdquor;.
Photovoltaic self-consumption is based on the use of solar radiation to produce electricity. To do this, the photoelectric effect, which is a phenomenon whereby, in some materials, when receiving a certain level of radiation, the electrons are excited and jump to a higher energy state, generating a potential difference.
Community facilities | Pixabay
In this case, silicon is used as the base material, and a treatment is applied to convert it into a semiconductor of two different types. The combination of both materials offers ideal characteristics for the circulation of current.
Photovoltaics has a differential advantage: it is the simplest and most modular form of generation that exists. It is enough with a simple module and an inverter to obtain electricity, which gives an undoubted appeal to this technology, with huge potential, both for large-scale generation and for self-consumption.
Thanks to the solar resource enjoyed by most of Spain (it is the country with the highest solar radiation in Europe), the Photovoltaic is the most widespread form of renewable self-consumption.
Self-consumption processing guide: https://www.appa.es/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/2019_04_10_guia_autoconsumo_v1_IDAE.pdf