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Practical guide to install solar panels: types, regulations, subsidies and more

With the strong concern about the electricity rate that is currently experienced in Spain, one of the trends that is experiencing greater interest on the part of the population is that of energy self-consumption based on the installation of solar panels.

The rise of this type of self-consumption is also focused on the fight against climate change, which is of such concern today and which is already beginning to be experienced with extreme temperatures, floods, tornadoes…etc.

Solar panels are a device created to convert the light that is reflected in them into electric current and that will be installed on the roofs of houses—they must be suitable. It goes without saying that the advantage of living in Spain is precisely the large number of hours of sunshine available. In addition —and thanks to technological evolution— it is becoming an increasingly affordable system.

In this guide you will learn everything related to this form of energy supply: installation costs, types of solar panels, legislation and subsidies.

Types of solar panels, purchase and installation: the first big step

The solar panel is, by far, the component with the longest durability in your installation and can last up to 30 years despite the fact that it will lose some electrical production power year after year. However, there are other components such as the inverter or the batteries that have a shorter useful life and you will surely have to replace them after 10 years or so.

Most manufacturers offer a 2-year warranty, although other European brands reach 5 years. The great advantage of these is their maintenance, almost zero. You should only have them free of obstructions such as dirt, leaves or snow and mention that the guarantees also usually help in repairs by professionals in the sector.

solar panels

Mention that There are several types of solar panels, each with its own characteristics and technologies for capturing solar energy:

  1. Monocrystalline silicon solar panels: efficient and generate a lot of electricity in small spaces. Estimated price: between 150 and 300 euros per plate.
  2. Polycrystalline silicon solar panels: less efficient than monocrystalline, but cheaper. Estimated price: between 100 and 250 euros per plate.
  3. Thin film solar panels: they are thinner and more flexible, but their efficiency is lower. Estimated price: between 80 and 200 euros per plate.
  4. Organic Solar Panels: flexible and low cost, but their efficiency is still low. Estimated price: between 50 and 150 euros per plate.
  5. Bifacial solar panels: they capture sunlight on both sides, increasing their power-generating capacity. Estimated price: between 200 and 400 euros per plate.

It’s important to put attention on These prices are estimates and may vary depending on the manufacturer, the power and the specific characteristics of each solar panel. It simply serves to get a slight idea of ​​its cost.

Renewable energy

“The number of solar panels recommended for a typical home can vary depending on several factors, including the home’s electrical consumption, geographic location, size and efficiency of the solar panels, among others. However, as a general estimate, It can be considered that between 10 and 20 are usually enough”explains to Computer Hoy Jorge Cairós, Head of Energy Transformation.

For the installation of solar panels in a house it is recommended as the first big step determine the feasibility of installing in the homeconsidering factors such as geographic location, orientation and the space available for the panels.

Solar panels

On the other hand highlight large companies in Spain such as Solfy, Engel Solar, TotalEnergies, Iberdrola or even Naturgy. Together with specialists, design the right photovoltaic solar system for your home. This includes determining the number of panels needed, storage capacity—if batteries are used—and other required components.

of course you should “make sure you comply with the legal requirements and obtain the necessary permits for the installation of solar panels in your area. Check the local regulations and carry out the corresponding procedures”explains the expert interviewed.

Solar panel regulations: points to consider

He RD 244/2019 meant a great change in the regulation of the installation of solar panels. Among one of the most important innovations, the elimination of the sun tax stands out, as well as the simplification of the types of plates or collective self-consumption —residential buildings—.

Say goodbye to the sun tax

The sun tax was a “toll” —from 2015 to 2018—, introduced by José Manuel Soria, belonging to the PP —Government of Mariano Rajoy—, which was applied to the bills of energy producers for self-consumption to through solar panels and that was an impediment for them. This tax made the electricity bill even more expensive.

Self-consumption with surpluses and Self-consumption without surpluses

Although there are various types, the most common are those that refer precisely to this surplus. Self-consumption with surpluses allows surplus energy to be exported to the transmission and distribution network. Users can sell the energy to the grid or benefit from the so-called net balance in which the energy exported to the grid is offset on the bill.

Requirements for the installation with surpluses to be eligible for compensation —the price paid for the energy surplus is established by the retailer—It is usually between 0.05 and 0.06 €/kWh—:

  • The power does not exceed 100 kW.
  • The consumer will have to be in a single supply contract for consumption with a marketer.
  • The consumer cannot obtain an economic benefit. The compensation is deducted from the price of the electricity bill, which will never have a negative value — it will never return to the consumer.
  • Power must come from renewable energy sources.
blue filter glasses

On the other hand, there is the call self-consumption without surplus, which is intended solely to cover the energy needs of the home. You will only need an access and connection permit for your consumption facilities.

The characteristic of these facilities is that they have an anti-waste system that prevents excess energy from being exported to the grid. Batteries can be added, as in self-consumption with surpluses, to store excess energy and use it, for example, at night or on cloudy days.

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Before installing solar panels, you must carry out several administrative procedures

  1. Prepare a technical report of the installation: For domestic self-consumption installations, an approved installer must write a description of the project. For larger installations, a technical project carried out by an engineer will be required.
  2. Obtain access permissions and connection to the network: on rustic land, you need to request permissions through your installer. On urban land, this is usually not necessary, unless the installation exceeds 15 kW and power is fed into the grid.
  3. Submit a responsible declaration of work communication: in many places, this replaces the building permit. It is only required to notify the City Council if the installation does not exceed 10 kW.
  4. Obtain administrative and environmental authorizations: for photovoltaic installations of more than 100 kW, an administrative authorization is required. An environmental and public utility authorization may also be required, depending on the size of the facility.
Source: Hogarense.
Source: Hogarense.

After installation, there are additional procedures:

  1. Present a certificate of completion of work: for small installations —less than 10 kW—, an installation certificate is presented. For larger installations, a final construction certificate is required.
  2. Carry out periodic inspections: for installations greater than 100 kW, an inspection carried out by an Authorized Control Body is required.
  3. Obtain an exploitation authorization: This procedure varies depending on the autonomous community and the size of the facility.
  4. Sign a surplus compensation contract: To access compensation for the energy discharged into the network, you must sign a contract with the distribution or trading company.

“It is important to remember that these procedures may vary depending on the location and regulations of where you are. It is vitally important to consult with authorities and professionals in the sector to obtain information on the specific administrative procedures in each area, however small it may be”adds Jorge Cairós.

Green iT: Technology at the service of the environment

The best part: the aid to make the move towards more sustainable energy possible

Both the European Union and the autonomous communities are increasingly providing financial support for the installation of solar panelswith the aim of promoting the consumption of renewable energies and complying with the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDG) in terms of environmental commitment.

Aid for the installation of solar panels can be classified into 3 main categories:

  1. European subsidies: There are grant programs at the European level that help cover part of the cost of installing solar panels.
  2. Tax relief: Tax benefits are offered, such as the possibility of deducting part of the cost of installing solar panels from the taxes to be paid. For example, personal income tax deduction of up to 20%.
  3. Aid from the Autonomous Communities: Each autonomous community in Spain has established specific support programs for the period 2021-2023, in order to encourage the installation of solar panels and promote the generation of renewable energy at the local level. On this website you will find information for each autonomous community.
Anker 521 Portable Power Station

“For an installation with a power of less than 10 kWp (kW peak), the amount is usually around an average of €600 for each kWp of the installation, as well as €500 per kWh in the battery. For large installations of more than 10 kWp , we will find prices between €450 – €300 per installed kWp”they explain from Climate Selectra.

“In addition, in municipalities at risk of depopulation, for 20,000 inhabitants on non-urban land and 5,000 inhabitants on urban land, additional aid must be added to the aforementioned amounts, which consists of €55/kWp at the installation and €15/kWh in the battery”they add.

In summary, Installing solar panels at home can be a cost-effective and sustainable option, but it requires a somewhat arduous process. which includes evaluation, administrative procedures and the search for available aid. Consulting with experts and following the appropriate steps is vital for an installation without loose ends and that really benefits your pocket and the environment.

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