Solar panels for your Spanish home: pros and cons

If you’re thinking of installing solar panels on your Spanish home, it’s a good idea to take all the pros and cons into account before signing on the dotted line. Here’s all you need to know.

With so many hours of sun in Spain, installing solar panels can make sense. However, given the cost it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. We’ve taken a look at the prices and from when you could expect to see savings. The following information only applies to homes already connected to the national grid in Spain.

Which companies can install solar panels?

There are many small local companies that can provide you with an estimate, carry out the installation and prepare all the necessary paperwork you’ll need. However big companies such as Media Markt or Worten are also starting to offer this service.

It’s important to check the following before signing a contract with a company:

  • Will the company provide an estimate for free? Some may charge with the promise of deducting the cost of the estimate from the bill if you go ahead with the installation.
  • Does the company have an agreement with a single energy provider? You may prefer a different provider with a better tariff (you may still need to take energy from the national grid from time to time).
  • How long will the installation take?
  • Will the company deal with all the paperwork, including requesting any regional grants in your name?
  • How long is the guarantee? Take into account that the guarantee should cover both the panels themselves and their ability to produce energy. Generally both guarantees should be for 20-25 years.
  • What about maintenance and repairs?

How much do solar panels cost?

Although the usual option is to buy solar panels, some companies also provide the possibility to rent them. With an estimate you’ll be able to decide which option is best for you and your pocket, but in both cases you’ll have to pay for installation.

Given that solar panel prices have dropped over the last few years, as a general guide you should expect to find panel prices range from 600€ to 800€ per square metre. Prices will depend on the quality of the panels and you may find that those with a higher price are more efficient, therefore providing a better return on your investment.

As well as the panels you’ll need to take into account additional elements for the installation and the costs of the paperwork to ensure the installation is legally registered.

As a rough guide you can expect the total cost for materials, installation and extras for a house to be around 10,000€, however this could be a lot higher if you need a higher energy output.

If a company offers finance options, take a good look at the conditions as you may be able to get a better interest rate with a personal loan from your bank.

How much can you save by installing solar panels?

Estimates place savings on your bills of up to 70%, but this may not be the case for your household. When calculating what you could save, it may be better to take into account a more conservative figure of 50% savings.

You can also sell back any extra energy, however the rates may be lower than what you expect. Spain’s national grid (REE) website publishes the sell back prices on a daily basis.

Taking into account the cost of the panels and installation, along with any other costs and the amount you’ll save on your energy bills means that the average time it takes to see actual savings is between 8 to 12 years. If you’re thinking of moving home before then you may not see any savings at all. If you’ve received a grant towards the cost of the panels and installation, you will start to see savings earlier.

What grants are available?

Regional authorities may offer grants from time to time, with a limit on the funds available. Grants are not means-tested, but you do need to be a legal resident in Spain with a NIE number.

Check with your local Town Hall to see what help you can get.

What about the paperwork?

You’ll need a licence from your Town Hall before the panels can be installed and additional paperwork will be required with your energy supplier to allow you to sell back any extra energy that you don’t consume. Most installers will deal with this for you, but it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on things!

What happens if the weather is bad?

As you continue to be connected to the national grid you can still consume electricity as normal regardless of the weather, so you won’t have to worry if it rains for a week or two.

Read our tips on how to choose an electricity tariff here.

What other advantages can you expect?

As well as saving on your bills, you’ll be helping the planet by using a renewable energy source. You’ll also be lowering your carbon footprint.

Additionally having solar panels on your home may increase its value if you decide to sell your home in the future.