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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

In view of the flood of applications, European funds for financing solar modules in Catalonia fall short


The Catalan Institute of Energy (ICAE) has been overwhelmed by the avalanche of requests for financing solar panels through the next-generation funds’ aid lines. The government announced in June that it would double the original budget to 230 million (up from 115 million at the start of the year) to try to meet the huge demand for credit for self-consumption. But even with this extension, the budget will not be enough to cover all the subsidy requests that the Generalitat has already received. In the absence of six months to complete the tender, the requests from residents, companies and administrations already exceed the available budget by 40 million euros.

ICAE forecasts when it tendered for the aid earlier this year that around 8,000 applications would be received between businesses, individuals and governments to subscribe to one of the six lines of credit in facilities and storage facilities. But the forecasts lag behind: the inquiries (30,000, including around 20,000 from private individuals) triple the original calculations. And there is still half a year to complete the tender. “We could close it now [la convocatoria] because there are people who ask for it and it is likely that they will be left without them,” explains ICAE Director Marta Morera.

The Generalitat welcomes the avalanche of bids, believing that this is a symptom of how the change in the energy model has permeated the municipality. In 2017 there were just 259 number plate installations. Since the suppression in October 2018 of the so-called sun tax Photovoltaic self-consumption in Catalonia has already filled roofs and gardens with more than 27,000 installations, according to the latest data (updated to last March) from the ICAE.

Demand has been growing continuously since 2018 and, according to ICAE information, more systems are put into operation in each quarter than in the previous quarter. Between January and March 2002, 6,400 new units were installed with a total capacity of 46.05 MW. This meant that ICAE had to increase its staff to try and resolve the thousands of files that were piling up. A team of 25 technicians was recruited in February, with 11 more employees joining in recent weeks. Morera calculates that a total of 18 months can elapse between applying for the grant and receiving it if the requirements are met. Energy services company Adymus warns of shortage of installers to meet workload recovery.

expansion of resources

Given the limited resources to meet the huge demand, the director of the ICAE explains that the government has asked the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge of the Spanish Government, which is responsible for transferring European aid to the municipalities, to one more extend time the game “But they have not yet determined if there will be an expansion,” says Morera. The director rules out the municipality contributing its own funds for new installations, although it is involved in new funding lines to finance the electrification of houses and buildings. “We have to focus heavily on the energy efficiency of houses. Before we spend money on new self-consumption and storage systems, we spend them to make homes more energy efficient,” he says. On Monday, the secretary of the Ministry of Climate Action, Anna Barnadas, will present another guidance line to promote the use of renewable energies such as biomass, solar thermal and geothermal, the Generalitat said in a statement yesterday.

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The flood of requests is mainly noticed in the municipalities with more single-family houses, where the municipalities IBI and ICIO discount for the installation. According to INE, Sant Cugat (Barcelona), with almost 90,000 inhabitants, leads the ranking of Catalan municipalities with 992 self-consumption devices with a power of 5,129.5 kW. The city of Barcelona (1,600,000 inhabitants) with data up to February has 750 but with a higher power (10,553.0 kW). This is because there are more buildings in the Catalan capital, so the installations must be communal and sufficient to power all floors of the block.

missed target in 2050

According to the latest annual report from the Observatory of Renewable Energy of Catalonia (Obercat), promoted by the main Catalan companies and organizations dealing with efficient energy management, it warns that the community is on track to meet the renewable energy targets energies for 2050 and that although there has been a jump in self-consumption systems, the good data has not been transferred to large wind and solar systems.

The document, with data up to 2021, highlights that self-consumption is only enough to meet 0.6% of Catalonia’s electricity needs and warns that at this rate, Catalonia will not be able to be self-sufficient without Aragon to be dependent. The director of the ICAE, Marta Morera, admits that when the renewable energy data is extrapolated to that of a year ago, the community “is not meeting the targets”, but trusts that the energy transition in Catalonia after the change of the energy transition will gain momentum Decree on Renewable Energies, which, as he defends, has reduced the resistance of the municipalities to the realization of wind farms.

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