What is collective self-consumption?

More and more people and companies are considering installing photovoltaic plant in their homes or establishments to supply energy for their consumption and save on energy supply costs.

Self-consumption, which has been gaining importance in Spain in recent years, is defined in article 9.1 of Law 24/2013, of 26 December, on the Electricity Sector (LSE), as the consumption by one or several users of electricity from production facilities close to the consumption facilities and associated with them.

The legislative framework for self-consumption in Spain is the LSE and the Royal Decree 244/2019, of 5 April, which regulates the Administrative, Technical and Economic Conditions for Self-consumption of Electrical Energy (RD 244/19).

In addition, the person or company that has installed an electricity generation plant using photovoltaic solar energy for self-consumption may wish, at some point, to inject the surplus energy into the transmission and distribution grids; that is, they may want to sell the excess to third parties. To do so, it must have the status of a marketer.

However, if, in addition to self-consuming the energy, the person or company wishes to share it with third parties without becoming a marketer, they can resort to collective self-consumption.

What is collective self-consumption?

RD 244/2019 regulates collective self-consumption and defines it as the grouping of several energy consumers who feed themselves, in a previously agreed manner, with electrical energy that comes from production facilities close to where they are consumed and associated with the same.

For the plant installation to be understood as a production installation close to and associated with those of consumption, one of the following conditions must be met:

  • Energy consumers are already connected to the internal network of the generation plant or linked through direct lines
  • Energy consumers are connected to any of the low-voltage grids derived from the same transformer substation;
  • Energy consumers are within 500 meters of each other (measured using the distance between their metering equipment’s projection on the ground plan).
  • Energy consumers (where installed) must belong to the same cadastral reference according to their first 14 digits.

The above questions are technical, and the customer must verify compliance with them and eligibility for this type of self-consumption.

Collective self-consumption regime in Spain

Other general issues to take into account are the following:

  • Ownership of the power generation plant: article 5 of RD 244/19 provides that the ownership of the plant will be shared jointly and severally by all consumers associated with that generation facility.

It adds that, without prejudice to the agreements signed between the parties, all associated consumers shall be jointly and severally liable to the electricity system for the said generation facility.

  • Metering equipment: Article 10 of RD 244/19 provides that, in most cases, a single meter at the border point with the distribution network is sufficient.

An additional generation meter will be necessary for collective self-consumption, and the energy generated will need to be measured using other equipment to enable energy sharing among participating consumers.

  • Energy distribution in collective self-consumption: RD 244/19 foresees the existence of coefficients to distribute the energy, with the participants being able to reach a specific distribution, with the only requirement that they are constant values.

The agreement should include these criteria and coefficients between the parties. Each consumer must send them, directly or through their marketing company, to the distributor.

Advantages of collective self-consumption

  • Lower investment: the cost of investing in solar panels is shared among several users.
  • Aid to reduce the carbon footprint and contribute towards the fight against climate change.
  • Possibility of locating the installations in shared spaces.

Collective self-consumption is a viable option for communities of owners, industrial estates, companies located in the same building, etc., that wish to generate energy for their consumption and save on energy supply costs.

If you need additional information about collective self-consumption in Spain,

Please note that this article is not intended to provide legal advice.

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