On November 29th, José Donoso, General Director of UNEF, participated in the Ecological Transition Conference held in Mérida, Extremadura, with the aim of analyzing and explaining the many possibilities offered by photovoltaics and to see how it impacts the development of renewable energies in Extremadura. In addition, the vision they have of photovoltaic from the professional and business point of view has been analyzed.
Thus, José Donoso participated in the first panel entitled "Renewable energies, a lever for growth" together with other experts in the sector such as Mr. Manuel Guirao Ibáñez, general director of Energy Transition of Castilla La Mancha, Mr. Antonio Díaz Alía, president of the Commission and Ecological Transition of the FEMPEX and Mr. Fernando Doncel Blázquez, Dean C.O.G.I.T.I of Cáceres. The session was moderated by Mr. Samuel Ruiz, General Director of Industry, Energy and Mines of the Regional Government of Extremadura.
During his speech, the general director of UNEF emphasized that "one of the things that Spain has done for the world has been its commitment to photovoltaic energy when no one else did". And, he remarked, "it is a simple and competitive technology that has made it spread all over the world and that the International Energy Agency says it will be the queen of renewables". In this sense, "Extremadura is being a model in the use of solar energy and the economic opportunity it represents", he added.
He also spoke about the current situation of the photovoltaic sector, self-consumption and the work carried out by UNEF for the growth of photovoltaic energy in our country. He explained that last year there was an increase in self-consumption in Spain and it could be seen how, during the quarantine period, the participation rate of the domestic economy in the self-consumption sector doubled, reaching 19% when it used to oscillate between 5% and 10%. This was key to the sector's growth of around 30%.
With regard to this year, Donoso has dared to anticipate that the installed gigawatt will be exceeded, but there are contradictory effects that may have an impact. Using the simile of vaccination, the general director of UNEF explained that, on the one hand, there is a very positive effect of interest added to the effect caused by the very high prices of electricity, which is making people understand that it is important to "vaccinate" against these rises - that is, to resort to self-consumption -, which will mean that in the future there will be fluctuations in the price of electricity.
But, on the other hand, the subsidies granted by the Government of nine hundred million euros regionalized in two years to support self-consumption, which UNEF considers to be fundamental, also entail adaptation periods for each Autonomous Community to be able to manage them. Something that is making many investors and entrepreneurs are waiting for these subsidies are operational to make their investments. This situation is not too serious as they will arrive, but it does cause certain costs for companies that have paralyzed part of their structures. That is why UNEF is calling on the Autonomous Regions to implement these measures as soon as possible.
In addition, José Donoso took advantage of his speech to show the study of economic impact at national level that UNEF performs each year in the photovoltaic sector. An analysis where he showed figures as remarkable as that this sector exports 2,500 million euros as it is a very broad sector that not only manufactures for Spain, in addition to generating around 60,000 direct and indirect jobs.
As for the barriers that prevent the development of photovoltaic from UNEF highlight the delays in the administrative processing, for which a solution must be found by paying attention to the reason for these delays. "We have a complex situation because we must find a solution between what is fair and what is effective. And that ideal solution would be that those projects in which the responsibility has been of the entrepreneur, of the developer who has not arrived on time, who has not done his duties properly, lose that point of connection as foreseen in the law, so that the legislation has that force and that effectiveness. But in those cases in which the responsibility has not been of the businessman, but of the Administration, by justice, that an alternative is given so as not to lose that point of connection and those guarantees", the general director of UNEF insisted.
To conclude his speech, José Donoso did not want to miss the opportunity to publicize the work of UNEF in favor of sustainability and biodiversity with the implementation of the Certificate of Excellence awarded by the association to those plants that do things right. As well as its role as mediator in cases of conflict over the installation of solar plants in order to avoid moratoriums.
When asked about storage, the general director of UNEF stated that "if we want to achieve the decarbonization of the system, storage is essential". Therefore, although it is not the most urgent issue at the moment, we must start working on it.