Analysis of the key developments introduced by the new Royal Decree 244/2019, of 5th April, regulating the administrative, technical and economic conditions of self-consumption of electrical energy.

Written on 11 Apr 2019

On 6th of April Royal Decree 244/2019, of 5th of April, was published in the Official State Gazette, regulating the administrative, technical and economic conditions of self-consumption of electrical energy, which implies a profound reform of self-consumption in our country.

Here is a brief of the main developments introduced by the new Royal Decree, which simplifies administrative procedures in this area, eliminates the sun tax, and will contribute to the further development of self-consumption in Spain.

New definition of self-consumption

The regulation is based on the definition of self-consumption contained in article 9 of Law 24/2013, of 26 December, on the Electricity Sector, following the amendments introduced by Royal Decree-Law 15/2018, according to which self-consumption is defined as “the consumption by one or more consumers of electrical energy coming from generation installations close to and associated with consumption installations”.

In relation to the above, self-consumption can be individual, as it was until now, or collective. According to this new figure, several consumers will be able to join the same generation installation and communicate individually to the distributor as the person in charge of the reading, the same agreement signed by all the participants that collects the criteria for the distribution of self-consumption.

On the other hand, production facilities close to and connected to consumption facilities are those production or generation facilities intended to generate electricity to supply one or more consumers covered by any of the forms of self-consumption in which any of the following conditions are met:

  • Are connected to the internal network of the associated consumers or are connected to them through direct lines.
  • Are connected to any of the low voltage networks derived from the same transformation centre.
  • Both generation and consumption are connected at low voltage and at a distance of less than 500 metres between them.
  • Are located, both generation and consumption, in the same land registry reference according to its first 14 digits or, as the case may be, according to the provisions of the twentieth additional provision of Royal Decree 413/2014.

This implies that, unlike to date, a self-consumption facility may be located in more than one dwelling.
These facilities will be named, according to the conditions they meet: (i) installations close to the internal network; or (ii) installations close through the network. In this second case, self-consumption must belong to the modality of supply with surpluses, an aspect that is explained in the following section.

New forms of self-consumption

Another of the most relevant aspects is that the following modalities of self-consumption are established:

  • Supply with self-consumption without surpluses, where a mechanism to avoid pouring must be installed to prevent the injection of surplus energy into the transport or distribution network and where the only subject will be the consumer.
  • Supply with self-consumption with surpluses, where, in addition to supplying energy for self-consumption, it will be possible to inject surplus energy into the transport and distribution networks and in which there are two types of subjects, the consumer and the producer.

Installations in the latter category may, in turn, voluntarily benefit from a surplus compensation mechanism as long as they comply with certain conditions.
The subjects who were already self-consuming before the entry into force of the new Royal Decree, may avail themselves of any of the new forms of self-consumption cited. The time spent in the chosen modality shall be at least one year from the date of registration or modification of the contract or access contracts entered into.

Simplified compensation mechanism

Without prejudice to the fact that Royal Decree-Law 15/2018 establishes that self-consumed energy of renewable origin, cogeneration and waste will be exempt from all types of charges and tolls, the new Royal Decree establishes a simplified compensation mechanism between the deficits of self-consumers and the total surplus of associated generation installations, limited to powers of these not exceeding 100 kW. This mechanism consists of a balance in economic terms of the energy consumed in the specific billing period, where in no case may the economic value of the excess hourly energy be greater than the economic value of the hourly energy consumed from the network in the billing period, which may not exceed one month.

In order to take advantage of this mechanism, those who are part of the self-consumption modality with surpluses, must sign a contract between producer and associated consumer where such mechanism is established. This mechanism will also be available to consumers who undertake collective self-consumption without surpluses, where an agreement between all consumer subjects will suffice.

Network access and connection

With regard to consumption facilities (both in the form of self-consumption without surpluses and with surpluses), access permits and connection to the network must be available. However, in relation to generation installations, the following shall be exempted from obtaining these permits: (i) facilities for consumers under the modality of self-consumption without surpluses; and (ii) installations under the self-consumption modality with surpluses, of power production equal to or less than 15 kW that are located on urbanised land and have the endowments and services required by urban legislation.

Measuring equipment for the correct invoicing of prices, tariffs, charges, access tolls and other system costs and services

It establishes the obligation for subjects covered by any of the forms of self-consumption, to have the necessary measuring equipment which, in general, will be a two-way measuring equipment at the border point or a measuring equipment at each of the border points.

Administrative register of self-consumption of electric energy

The new Royal Decree develops the information that will be included in this register and its operation. It shall be telematic, declarative, of free access and a period of six months from the approval of this regulation is established for consumers to communicate to the competent energy body of their autonomous community or city, the modality of self-consumption to which they subscribe and the necessary information for the purposes of registration in this registry.

Repeal of the previous Royal Decree on self-consumption and modification of other regulations

Royal Decree 900/2015, of 9th of October, which regulates the administrative, technical and economic conditions for the supply of electricity for self-consumption and production for self-consumption, is practically repealed in its entirety.
Additionally, other royal decrees with influence on self-consumption, have been modified, example given, among others, the Royal Decree 1699/2011, of 18th of November, regulating the connection to the network of the electric energy production installations of small power, to permit the connection to the network of the single-phase generation facilities of a maximum power of 15kW.