In light of sinking prices for modules and systems, increasing rates for electricity from conventional energy providers, and technical innovations, the self-consumption of solar power is becoming more and more attractive. This is particularly relevant for PV installations, which, starting in 2021, will no longer be eligible for Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) subsidies.
The consulting firm IHS Markit predicts that module prices for solar installations will sink by 30 percent this year in Europe alone. This will reinforce the cost benefit that self-consuming solar power holds over expensive rates for conventional sources of electricity. Installing a battery storage system, using heat pumps and electric heating bars for hot water production, and charging an electric car are all methods for further increasing self-consumption. Jörg Sutter, Vice-President of the German Solar Energy Society (DGS), believes that retrofitting PV installations which will no longer be viable for EEG subsidies in two years’ time is the first step in converting feed-in electrical systems from full feed-in to self-supply. However, when connecting batteries or electric vehicle charging stations, Sutter recommends not only monitoring the PV installation’s own yields, but also the compatibility of the inverter’s electronics as well as household consumption and its peaks. Regulatory conditions such as the sum of the EEG levy should be taken into consideration, as even after the feed-in tariff expires, the installations will still be subject to the EEG. Spain led by example in this regard when, in October 2018, it decided to abolish the controversial “sun tax” on self-produced solar power. All fees for self-consumed energy and the bureaucratic hurdles surrounding installation registration are being abolished.