Recently you will have heard a lot about "self-consumption". If you are wondering what it is or have doubts about its operation.
"Self-consumption" consists in producing or managing what we consume, be it food, energy, water or even clothing! This practice can be carried out by individuals, families and even companies or public centers. We are going to talk to you about self-consumption as the production of the energy you consume yourself. Energy self-consumption systems can be isolated or connected to the network. The isolated system is used to produce energy that we consume instantly or stored in batteries for later use, while the grid connection system allows energy to be poured into the electricity grid to deduct this from the electricity consumption of our bill, which is known as “net balance” (or net metering), which we will explain later. What is a self-consumption system made of? The basic components needed for a network connection device are only two! One or several plates (B), or one or several wind turbines (A). An inverter from direct current to alternating current with a cable to connect to photovoltaic panels (MC4 cable) or to wind turbines (C). Apart from these components we can install: A structure for the support of our plates and wind turbines. Wind accessories, such as anemometers. Batteries and accumulators to store energy. Battery chargers. Regulators to control and manage your batteries. Accessories to monitor system behavior. In isolation equipment it is necessary to place batteries, battery charger and regulator. If you are not sure what components you need (it is necessary to have technical training in renewable energies to be able to design an isolated energy system with guarantees), you can purchase ready-made kits
Advantages of self-consumption
Among the advantages of self-consumption are the following. With the lowering of self-consumption systems and the increase in electricity rates, it can be cheaper to produce our own energy. And once we recover the investment, we have free energy for life! Self-consumption systems use free, inexhaustible, clean and environmentally friendly energy sources, such as solar or wind energy. Energy losses are avoided by transporting it through the power grid. The energy dependence of our country with the outside is reduced. Problems are avoided to supply all demand at peak times, known for power outages and power surges.
Analysis of possible disadvantages
One of the main obstacles of self-consumption is the cost of purchasing the systems. This is no longer a problem given that prices are getting cheaper greatly, while the prices of electricity provided by power companies expect continued increases. Another obstacle to self-consumption is that electricity generation is intermittent and depends on weather conditions. Thus, if we have a solar panel system, electricity will not be generated at night, and unless we have a storage system, we will not be able to have electricity at night. But, this will no longer be an obstacle, the so-called “net metering” or net balance is already regulated, which means that excess consumption produced by our self-consumption system can be poured into the electricity grid. In this way, the electricity company that provides us with electricity when our system cannot generate it will deduct us from our monthly consumption, which we have dumped. For example, if we spend 200 kWh per month, consuming 100 kWh of our solar panel system and 100 kWh of the network, and in addition, our solar panels pour 80 kWh into the network (in total they produce 180 kWh), the company will charge us only 20 kWh difference.
Self-consumption in the rest of the world
In other countries there is already a net balance system very similar to the one we have mentioned. In the US, it is called electric credit and is already present in about 40 states. Japan also uses a similar, but municipal, net balance system. Other countries that allow self-consumption are Italy, Belgium and Germany. In Germany, a premium for self-consumption is also provided. In Italy, double is paid and not paid for those you consume. And in Belgium, a hybrid system of premiums and green certificates is applied. Self-consumption will not take long to spread, and more and more households and SMEs will produce their own energy, considerably reducing their electricity bills.