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Photovoltaic for self-consumption

Renewable Energies are an inexhaustible source of energy, but it varies according to the atmospheric conditions and the source of energy used: solar, wind, water and geothermal.

Since Portugal is a country with ideal conditions for the implementation of this type of energy, there were several energy policies that encouraged the implementation of renewable energy in homes, increasing its dissemination in a significant way, both in the business sector and in the residential sector.

This was one of the reasons that contributed to, in 2016, Portugal being one of the European Union countries that consumed the most renewable energy in Europe, with a percentage of 28% of the total energy consumed.

Aiming at a better knowledge of its consumption profile by low voltage consumers, the optimization of endogenous resources and the creation of technical benefits for the public service electric grid (RESP), as well as the implementation of a more balanced and directed energy policy. the resolution of the problems of companies, families and the country, Decree-Law no. 153/2014, of 20 October, defines the legal requirements for the implementation of self-consumption systems for electricity.

WHAT IS SELF-CONSUMPTION?

Self-consumption production consists of the production activity aimed at meeting the producer’s own needs for electricity supply, without prejudice to the excess energy produced being injected into the RESP.

Self-consumption can lead to a reduction in electricity bills of up to 80%, depending on the type of solution adopted or the location of the house / company, among other factors, which must be taken into account before any installation. Thus, it is recommended that specialized technicians visit the installation site, for the correct dimensioning of the system, taking into account your real needs.

Thus, the electricity produced in self-consumption is predominantly intended for consumption in the installation associated with the production unit, with the possibility of connection to the RESP, for sale, at the market price, of the electricity not consumed.

The sale of surplus energy is carried out by entering into a contract between the producer and the supplier of last resort (CUR) or a free market supplier, for a maximum period of 10 years, renewable for periods of 5 years, the price being of the energy calculated in accordance with the provisions of the Law.

To this value, a fixed monthly compensation is added, in the first 10 years, to production units for self-consumption with an installed power greater than 1.5 kW and whose electrical installation is connected to the RESP, a value also fixed by law.

To this value, a fixed monthly compensation is added, in the first 10 years, to production units for self-consumption with an installed power greater than 1.5 kW and whose electrical installation is connected to the RESP, a value also fixed by law. This compensation will be null, for UPAC installed power values ​​below 1% of the total installed power of the SEN.

The profitability of a self-consumption system does not result from the sale of the excess electricity produced, but from the savings generated in the annual electricity bill, by reducing the need to purchase energy from the contracted electricity supplier.

In this type of energy production, the producer benefits when the production unit is dimensioned taking into account the actual consumption needs of the installation.

That way:

  1. The electricity produced is injected preferentially into the consumption facility;
  2. Eventual surpluses of instant production can be injected into the RESP;
  3. The proposed model assumes the adequacy of the production capacity to the existing consumption regime at the site, minimizing the injection of energy into the RESP.

WHAT IS UPAC?

Production Unit for Self-consumption (UPAC), is the name assigned to the unit that produces electricity for self-consumption, and this unit may or may not be linked to the RESP, this choice being made by the producer.

In a photovoltaic system UPAC consists of:

  1. Photovoltaic modules;
  2. Inverters;
  3. Protective equipment;
  4. Electricity meter
  5. In the case of UPACs that sell energy to the grid, they must install a surplus sale meter or replace the consumption meter with a bidirectional meter (if it is not already);
  6. Batteries (optional).

Whenever the UPAC is linked to the RESP, the energy produced and not consumed, will be injected into the network and remunerated. If the producer does not intend to sell the surplus to the network, he will need equipment that limits the injection of power.

WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF INSTALLING A PRODUCTION UNIT (UP)?

If the producer does not want to link the UP to the RESP, he will have to comply with some obligations (according to the provisions of  Ordinance no. 14/2015, of 23 January) in order to use his UP:

  1. When the installed power is less than 200 W, there is no obligation for the producer;
  2. When the installed power is greater than 200 W and less than 1.5 kW, it is necessary to carry out a prior communication to DGEG;
  3. When the installed power is greater than 1.5 kW and less than 1 MW, it is necessary to register with SERUP – Electronic Registration System of UPAC and Small Production Units (UPP) and obtain an exploration certificate DGEG, and one of the following registration fees must also be paid:
    • € 70, if the installed power is greater than 1.5 kW and equal to or less than 5 kW;
    • € 175, if the installed power is greater than 5 kW and equal to or less than 100 kW;
    • € 300, if the installed power is greater than 100 kW and equal to or less than 250 kW;
    • € 500, if the installed power is greater and 250 kW and equal to or less than 1 MW.

If the producer wishes to sell the surplus energy not consumed in the RESP, he will need to obtain a certificate of exploitation of the installation, issued by DGEG, of a bidirectional meter or equivalent (independent of the meter of the consumption installation) and will have to pay one of the following registration fees with SERUP:

  1. € 30, if the installed power is less than or equal to 1.5kW;
  2. € 100, if the installed power is greater than 1.5kW and equal to or less than 5kW;
  3. € 250, if the installed power is greater than 5kW and equal to or less than 100kW;
  4. € 500, if the installed power is greater than 100kW and equal to or less than 250kW;
  5. € 750, if the installed power is greater than 250kW and equal to or less than 1MW.

In both cases, when the installed power exceeds 1 MW, it is necessary to obtain a production and exploration license from SERUP.

These values ​​are updated periodically by DGEG

TO WHO CAN SELL EXCESSED ELECTRICITY AND AT WHAT PRICE?

Electricity that is not consumed by the producer, as long as the installation is connected to the RESP, may be sold to the CUR or a free market trader, and its value is calculated taking into account the indexation of the electricity price in the market. (OMIE) with a 10% penalty on that amount. In the last year, the average value of electricity sold to the grid was 0.041 € / kWh, according to Ordinance no. 15/2015, of 23 January.

HOW IS THE LICENSING PROCESS PERFORMED?

For the installation of a UPAC, the producer will have to:

  1. Consult the market, in order to find the financially most advantageous proposal for your installation;
  2. Register with SERUP;
  3. Make the payment of the registration fee corresponding to DGEG, within 10 days after notification for this purpose;
  4. After payment of the fee, validation of the registration by the ORD and the vendor follows, within 10 working days and, finally, validation by the DGEG within 10, following the opinions of the entities mentioned.
  5. After validation, the producer must make an inspection request within 8 or 12 months, in the case of category BB (voltage range connected to the UP network associated with use facilities powered by BTN or BTE), which may be extended . The inspection aims to assess the installation’s compliance with applicable regulations;
  6. After the inspection is carried out, a report is prepared which, if positive, implies the issuance of the definitive exploration certificate and the connection of the UP to the electrical installation of use is authorized.