Spain, one of the fastest growing countries in the photovoltaic sector in Europe
7/2/2020 |
The contribution of this type of renewable energy to total electricity generation doubled in just one year, emerging as a post-Covid-19 economic driver. In addition, Spain is accelerating its decarbonisation with the closure of 7 thermal power plants.
Spain continues to generate good news in the field of renewable energy. According to the latest data from the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), in 2019 our country was the leading market in the photovoltaic sector at a European level and 6th worldwide, with a record installed capacity in both the ground-based plant segment, with 4,200MW of new capacity, and in the self-consumption segment, with 459MW. 

In May 2020, there was also a record of national generation of this type of energy, representing 9.3% of the energy mix (i.e. total energy generated through the different sources). This is double the 4.6% that photovoltaic energy represented in the same period in 2019. 

 According to UNEF, Spain has a solid, quality and competitive photovoltaic industry and has some of the best companies worldwide manufacturing photovoltaic components, as well as a great investment panorama. In the solar tracker segment, they also highlight that Spain has four of the ten largest companies in the world. 

 Among other data, the UNEF points out the 95% cost reduction in the generation of photovoltaic energy in the last decade, a contribution to the GDP of more than 5 billion euros, an economic impact of exports of 1.5 billion euros and the generation of 60,000 direct and indirect jobs. These figures make this sector a lever for post-Covid-19 economic recovery. Thanks to this high degree of competitiveness, photovoltaic technology could give Spanish industry a significant competitive advantage over its competitors in neighbouring countries.

Spain accelerates its decarbonisation

The European Green Deal stresses the need to move towards economic recovery and growth that is environmentally sustainability and progressive decarbonisation in all sectors. And, in this sense, Spain continues to make incredible progress. In fact, it is close to becoming one of the countries that is making the most rapid progress in abandoning coal, one of the most polluting and greatest contributors to the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.     

A year and a half after the closure of all mines - whose existence was difficult without public funds now banned by the EU - seven of the 15 coal-fired power stations are closing down. Not only do they have a negative impact on the environment but they make virtually no contribution to energy generation: if in 2018 they generated 15% of all the electricity consumed, this May they were only contributing 1.4% of electricity. Thus, the plants located in the provinces of A Coruña, Asturias, León, Teruel, Córdoba and Palencia, owned by large energy companies, will cease to be operational as of 30 June. Between them, they account for almost half of the installed capacity of coal in Spain. Another four plants have applied to the government for permits to close their facilities and it is estimated that all the plants of this type will be closed down within the next five years

Although the evolution of the energy market and the measures taken from Brussels have led to the closure of coal, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge is working with the electricity companies to present stable plans for the areas affected by these closures, focused on renewable energies and which, in some cases, may mean the generation of more jobs than those lost with these closures. There are currently 12 Just Transition agreements for thermal and mining areas, in addition to an allocation of public resources from both the government and, it is hoped, from future European Commission Just Transition funds.