The Spanish Government is working on a norm so that the neighbours who have a collective photovoltaics panels and are connected to the same installation can share all the generated electricity
The Spanish Government is working on a norm so that the neighbours who have a collective photovoltaics panels and are connected to the same installation can share all the generated electricity by exchanging their surpluses and maximizing the savings in the final electricity bill by not having to pay the dreaded tolls imposed by the main electric companies.
This is a step forward on the new regulation, which assigns production quotas of the collective installation to the different self-consumers and establishes that the energy that they do not consume instantaneously can be poured into the network; they could recover it later, but have to pay the tolls for the use of the network.
The recent Royal Decree 244/2019 authorizes several consumers to obtain energy from the same installation. However, it does so in a static way, allocating a quota or coefficient to each participant, the distribution can be freely agreed between the parties and preventing the exchange of specific surpluses.
Thus, in two semi-detached houses that share photovoltaic solar panels in equal parts, if one house is empty and without consumption, the other cannot take advantage of all self-generation; must use only 50%, and must cover their needs by acquiring the rest from the network, at the conventional price.
However, the decree introduces the option that surpluses of self-consumption discharged into the network will be compensated later, within a month, but by applying the usual access tolls that are charged on the energy consumed by the use of the network; in the case of the basic domestic tariff (2.0 A) they amount to 0.044 euros per kWh.
From an energy point of view, it does not matter the distribution of the generation and consumption of the collective installation they are the same at all times but not from the economic perspective: the participants are more interested in exchanging their surpluses to maximize self-consumption instantaneous and prevent them from pouring into the network and having to pay the tolls when compensating them.
This exchange of surpluses can be achieved by applying dynamic coefficients to distribute the self-produced energy that depend on the level of the generation and consumption of the participants, instead of the current fixed coefficients.
The renewable sector demands its implementation, because it would encourage more self-consumption, and has also been recommended by the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC). The Ministry for the Ecological Transition raised it when designing the recent decree, but it is a complex matter, which had not been included in the public information draft, and, in view of the urgency of approving the norm before the Spanish General Elections, the Government chose to include in the articles a mandate to be developed later.
This has been explained by sources from the Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE), which is already working on a future Ministerial Order to implement these dynamic distribution coefficients. According to their forecasts and depending on the result of the elections of the next 28th of May, the text should go to public information at the beginning of next summer.
Obstacles and more obstacles
Among the obstacles that the agency is encountering when it comes to fine-tuning the mechanism are the invoicing of energy distributions, both among self-consumers and among the companies involved in the process, such as distributors and marketers.
Among self-consumers, they should be allowed to establish their distribution criteria, either directly proportional to the consumption or by introducing weights, for example, based on their economic contribution to the installation or its contracted power.
And among the companies involved, it is necessary to design a coordination mechanism between all of them. Although the distributor responsible for the measurements is the one that corresponds to that zone, it is very likely that the self-consumers have contracted the services of different electric companies, and the logical thing is that intermediaries appear, such as energy services companies, to manage own or third-party self-consumption facilities.
This, in addition, affects a front that is still pending to be regulated: fiscal approach. It will often be that the owner of the installation is not the consumers, such as cases of a simple rental housing or as complex as a large shopping centre with batteries, recharging points for electric vehicles and a self-consumption system in the vicinity that uses the distribution network, paying specific tolls, which is still pending to be calculated by the National Commission of Markets and Competition.
The same sources indicate that the design of this fiscal treatment, in which at least the VAT must be taken into account, is already being addressed with the Spanish Treasury.
In addition to these regulatory developments, work to refine the new regulation of self-consumption are in the approval procedures of the installations the IDAE has published a first Guide on the matter and in the development of formats and communication protocols between electric companies, marketers and autonomous communities, something that corresponds to the CNMC and that should be ready at the beginning of July.