Spain: Government expects solar to dominate by 2030 with up to 77 GW

Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Digital Agenda has published a new report, including new growth scenarios for the future of the Spanish energy market, which recognizes solar as the future cheapest source of power, and the dominance of PV above all other energy sources by 2030.

The first scenario, called the “distributed generation scenario” (DG), forecasts strong development of renewable energy distributed generation coupled with storage systems.

According to the most optimistic figures provided by the ministry, solar is expected to reach a power production capacity of 47.1 TWh by 2030, thus becoming the country’s leading power source, followed by wind (31.0 TWh), combined cycle plants (24.5 TWh), hydropower (23.0 TWh), cogeneration facilities (8.5 TWh), and nuclear power (7.1 TWh). Overall, storage is expected to account for 2.3 TWh of total demand.

Under this scenario, renewables would have a 70% share in Spain’s electricity mix, while solar PV technology would reach a cumulative installed power of around 77 GW, followed by wind with 47.5 GW.

A second, less ambitious scenario, called “sustainable transition scenario” (TS), also expects solar to become the largest and cheapest source of power by 2030, but with “only” 40 TWh of power production capacity, and no storage deployed. Under this scenario, however, renewables would still account for 67% of total power generation capacity, although part of the missing 7 TWh from solar would be partly replaced with 4 TWh of power generation from coal.

The country’s power demand is expected to increase from around 253 TWh currently, to 285 TWh (TS scenario) and 296 TWh (DG scenario), respectively. Costs of power generation, meanwhile, would range from €52/MWh in the TS scenario to €32.7/MWh in the DG scenario.

Commenting on the scenario with the highest penetration of solar and renewables, the Spanish government said that their increasing share would significantly reduce power generation costs, thus enabling savings of around €9.6 billion.

This would negatively impact the profitability of thermal back-up capacity, which will still be necessary in order to deal with fluctuations, while also making renewable energy project investment returns more problematic, the ministry said.

CO2 emissions, however, would be more than halved, and power exports to France would increase by around 236%, as a consequence of the price spread with the neighboring country, the report’s authors noted.

Spanish solar association, UNEF has welcomed the findings of the report, claiming that the Spanish government has finally acknowledged the high value of the PV technology.

“The forecast of a considerable increase in installed PV capacity by 2030, which would increase tenfold compared to current levels, is a key opportunity to allow citizens to have access to cheaper energy and to reach a more stable development model, in contrast to the dynamics of acceleration-braking-acceleration that has characterized the last years,” said association president, José Donoso.

Spain has currently an installed PV power of around 4.8 GW.