Outlook of renewable energy in Spain and Europe in 2018

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Why does Spain not invest more in photovoltaic solar energy, given that it is the country that has the most sunlight in all of Europe? What is the outlook for 2018? Will there be more interest in investing?

In 2017, 33.7% of the electricity consumed was produced by renewable energy

In 2017, according to REE (Red Eléctrica de Spain) renewable technologies from sources like the Sun, water, wind or biomass generated 33.7% of the electricity that is consumed in Spain. Even so, 17.4% of the kilowatt hours produced in our country came from thermal coal.

Factors that will drive the development and investment in photovoltaics in Spain

The cost reduction in photovoltaic, together with other factors such as the high volume of solar resource that our country possesses, the political consensus of decarbonisation, and the lower regulatory uncertainty, will boost the photovoltaic development in Spain.

Currently solar modules cost 80% less than 5 years ago. According to a study by IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), the electricity produced by photovoltaic energy is the one that has become cheaper from all renewable energies, growing above any other renewable source.

Source: GlobalData, 2017; pvXchange, 2017; Photon Consulting, 2017


We hope that the good results of the renewable auction held in July, in which 3.9 GW was assigned to photovoltaics, will reactivate investments in the coming years.

This year 2018, El Confidencial indicates that market conditions and the European political consensus reached after the Paris agreement, are attracting investors of photovoltaic solar energy to Spain, where profitability can reach 7% on average.

Europe, a commitment against Climate Change

With regard to renewable energies at European level, Parliament approved in mid-January 2018 to increase the share of renewable generation to 35% in the year 2030, with 70% of the votes of the House of Representatives. In the case of Spain, the share of renewable generation is also 35%.

The European Parliament proposes to achieve this goal of 35%:
  • In 2022, 20%.
  • In 2027, 70%.
  • By 2030, 100%.

Self consumption

The European Parliament has also supported self-consumption. The report approved in the Parliament reflects that "No type of surcharge can be established like the famous 'sun tax', and the states cannot tax the self-consumption of energy if it belongs outside the network." El Confidencial reports that "José Blanco (former socialist minister and now MEP) is trying to get as much support as possible in the European Parliament in order to have a strong position in subsequent negotiations, called trialogues (debate of three behind closed doors), with the European Commission and the European Council.

In regards to self-consumption, Joseph White hopes that the European Commission, led by Miguel Arias Cañete (former Minister of the Government of the) Partido Popular and now Commissioner of Energy and Action against Climate Change), support him in the trialogues. On the contrary, the European Council, which supported backup toll that taxes the self-consumers connected to the network with a power higher than 10 KW, and that already applies in Spain. This position was consecrated at its last meeting in December and will be the position set by the 28 energy ministers of the 28 member states of the Union. "

Biofuels / transport

Most countries do not accept the proposal to reduce the hydrocarbons originated by crops from the current 7% to 3.8%, maintained by the European Commission. Parliament prefers to freeze them at the level that each member state currently has, with the intention of not encouraging deforestation, but respect investments. However, the proposal is approved by the European Parliament to not accept palm oil as a raw material in transport after 2021, not recognizing it as a renewable energy source. And it limits in general the contribution of biofuels from food crops to transport objectives in 2030 to the levels of consumption reached last year (around 5 percent).

They are committed to the decarbonisation of transport, with a target of renewable energy at 12% in 2030, to be completed mainly with electricity from renewable sources, waste biofuels and other advanced or low carbon emissions.


In any case, the final decision on the content of the new renewable energy directive will come out of the negotiation between the Commission, the Council, and the European Parliament. And Spain plays an important role for the participation of José Blanco and Miguel Arias Cañete.

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