Gov’t agencies join trend to generate own solar energy

Gov't agencies at all levels joining the move toward self-consumption of solar-powered electricity. Graphic: El Diario
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Spain’s self-generated solar energy movement appears to be booming just one year after the Socialist government of President Pedro Sánchez scrapped the “sun tax” on solar panel installation imposed on Spanish homeowners and businesses in 2013 by the conservative Partido Popular government under former President Marian Rajoy.

For homeowners and businesses, removal of the tax on solar-power generation for home use that can yield up to 45 percent on household electricity bills has led to a boom in installations, with the UNEF (Unión Española Fotovoltaica) solar industry association projecting new installation of as many as 400 megawatts (MW) of electricity capacity for self-consumption in the coming year.

But local, regional and national governments are also moving quickly to take advantage of the increasingly low cost of solar panels and technology to take advantage of self-generated power, with more than 100 government agencies across Spain earmarking up to 35 million euros to launch more than 200 separate projects with a combined installed capacity exceeding 24.5 megawatts (MW).

► News Sources: El Diario, Extremadura Digital and Diari de Tarragona …

At the national level, the largest push has come from the 51-percent government owned airports administrator AENA, which has so far invested 16 million euros to generate 11.5 MW of solar energy to power the airports it operates in Madrid, the Canary Islands and the Balearics.

According to a report in Spanish daily newspaper El Diario, that investment is just the beginning for AENA, with the agency having recently announced it plans to invest some 250 million euros to generate 650 gigawatts per year, making it the leader in self-generated electricity in Europe’s airport sector

Regional governments are likewise beginning to invest heavily in solar-powered electricity for their facilities, including the Balearic Islands, Andalucia, Murcia and the Canary Islands. The latest to announce a move toward solar self-consumption projects has been the government of Extremadura, which last week unveiled a public-private partnership to coordinate the expansion of self-consumption of renewable energies by homeowners, businesses and government entities across the region.

► Click to read more news about Solar Energy in Spain …

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