The new Renewables Decree, key to photovoltaic development in Catalonia

With the Renewables Decree and self-consumption aid, experts trust that photovoltaic development will experience a strong boost in Catalonia in the coming years.

The approval last October of the new DL 24/2021, the Renewables Decree, as well as government aid for self-consumption, will have a strong impact on the sector and the energy transition in Catalonia.

So much so that experts point out that both initiatives will imply unlocking for the photovoltaic deployment in Catalonia, since it eliminates the existing uncertainty that the Catalan government would implement a moratorium for large renewable projects.

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This makes this Decree key for progress in Catalonia’s energy transition, where green energy accounts for 10% of the total consumed. With the unblocking of the situation that this community is experiencing, a new impulse is given to achieve the regional objectives set for 2030 that seek that renewable energies provide 50% of the electricity demand in Catalonia.

As highlighted by the experts gathered at the Conference, “Present and future of PV in Catalonia: New DL 24/2021 and aid for self-consumption”, the electricity demand in the community throughout 2020 was mainly covered by nuclear sources and, secondly, by combined cycles, with 11.8%, and, thirdly, by hydraulic energy, with 11.6%.

But nevertheless, the eolic energy covered 5.7% of demand, 16.3% less than the previous year, photovoltaic 0.86% of demand, falling 7.7%, according to the report from the Observatory of Renewable Energies in Catalonia (OBERCat) on the 2020 situation of the progress of the implementation of renewable energies in the Catalan community.

As Assumpta Farran, General Director of Energy of the Generalitat de Catalunya, highlights, the challenge is to achieve 3.5 GW photovoltaic on ground and 2.1 on roof by 2030 since “We did not arrive only with roofs but, together with the distributed projects, they will be the ones that will favor social acceptance”.

On the other hand, as positive measures of this Decree Law, from UNEF they emphasize that the territorial scope of reference to determine 10-5% of the irrigated and dry land for agricultural purposes is extended from municipality to region.

Likewise, you also highlight as a benefit the fact that it is accepted the agrovoltaica in soils of Agrological Capacity Class I and II, and that greater control be introduced over the refusal of the connection points of the distributor, creating a monitoring commission for refusals.

However, José Donoso, General Director of UNEF, and the UNEF delegate in Catalonia (UNEFCAT) clarify that there may be requirements that make processing difficult since, for plants of more than 5 MW, the opening of 20% of the capital is required to citizen participation, either through investment or debt. Likewise, it is also obliged to demonstrate the commitment of 50% of the land, or 85% for public utility purposes.

The companies have 3 months from the entry into force to request the return of the economic guarantees of those projects that cannot meet these new requirements.

Self-consumption in renewables

Regarding self-consumption, the New Decree Law eliminates the administrative authorization for projects without surpluses, facilitates the legalization of simplified compensation and gives a period of three months to modify the Catalan civil code to facilitate collective self-consumption in multi-family buildings.

Regarding the aids for self-consumption of the Recovery Plan, framed in European funds ‘Next Generation’, whose call is still pending in the Community, Carlos Montoya, Head of the Solar Department of the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving, IDAE, has explained the main details of the process for access, while Francesc Vidal, of the Area of Renewable Energies of the Catalan Energy Institute (ICAEN), has indicated that the aid will be published in the coming days in Catalonia and has advanced some of the details of the call.

From UNEF it has been insisted that it is urgent that Catalonia convene as soon as possible aid for self-consumption of the Recovery plan so that the delay in its publication does not have a paralyzing effect.

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