SELF-CONSUMPTION OF ELECTRICITY

Do you know the key points and the possibilities that self-consumption of electricity offers?

#environmental sustainability #society #renewable energy

Renewable energies have brought a new way of consuming electrical power. One example is self-consumption of electricity. Its recent rise is due to the fact that the installation of the technologies that make it possible are increasingly affordable and that there are now fewer administrative procedures. Discover a way to save on your electricity bill while fighting climate change.

The use of renewable energies to generate electricity is trending worldwide. But not only on a large scale, with major electricity generating and distributing companies, but also on a small scale, that is, the consumer scale. Self-consumption, which breaks with the traditional system of generating electricity in plants that is then distributed to our homes, gives consumers the possibility of generating their own energy. The main advantages are increased autonomy and reduced costs.

WHAT IS SELF-CONSUMPTION OF ELECTRICITY AND WHAT ARE ITS ADVANTAGES

Self-consumption of electricity occurs when individuals or companies consume energy produced by installations of production that are close to the consume ones and they are associated to them, for example, photovoltaic panels or mini wind generators. In addition to helping to slow down climate change by using renewable energy, this mode of consumption has other advantages for both consumers and society. Let's take a look at some of them:
 

 It means significant savings on electricity bills.

 Distributed generation will improve demand management at both the individual and societal levels.

 It helps reduce consumers' CO2 footprint and supports the energy transition.

 It promotes the creation of green jobs in sustainable companies.

 Its development will boost transport electrification and transform cities.

Next, we review the main self-consumption options associated with the various ways of generating renewable energy:

PHOTOVOLTAIC SELF-CONSUMPTION

Photovoltaic self-consumption requires the installation of solar panels, since it is based on the use of solar radiation to produce electricity. Although the modern era of photovoltaic energy began in 1954, when Bell Laboratories accidentally discovered that silicon semiconductors doped with certain impurities were hypersensitive to light, solar panels were not mass-produced until the 1990s.

The boom came about mainly thanks to technological improvements from different areas, in part from the space race, and the fall in prices since the economy of scale has made the average cost of photovoltaic generation competitive with conventional energy sources in a growing number of geographical regions. For that reason, solar panels have become a common element in urban and rural landscapes around the world.

A photovoltaic self-consumption system connected to the grid consists of:

  • Photovoltaic panel: a set of cells (photovoltaic cells) that produce electricity from the light that falls on them.
  • Controller: controls power generation and battery condition to prevent overcharging and discharging, and to extend battery life. In residential installations is less frequent, so it is replace by a monitoring system.
  • Accumulator: a battery powered energy storage system that only is needed if someone wants to accumulate energy in order to use it when there is less solar radiation.
  • Inverter: an electronic device that converts the direct current generated by the photovoltaic panel into alternating current.


The installation of photovoltaic and wind energy self-consumption.#RRSSThe installation of photovoltaic and wind energy self-consumption.

MINI WIND SELF-CONSUMPTION

Mini wind energy uses the force of the wind (kinetic energy) as a generator of electricity through small generators. That's the main difference from its big brother, wind energy. The electricity obtained from these small wind turbines is usually used to cover domestic needs, which makes it one of the favourite options when it comes to self-consumption of electricity.

The operation of a mini wind turbine is also based on the rotation of a rotor caused by the wind. When connected to a generator, the aforementioned rotor produces electricity in an alternating current. The most widespread wind turbines are those with a horizontal axis, although the needs of urban areas have led to the emergence of vertical solutions in recent years.

Wind self-consumption systems share several of its elements with the photovoltaic one. Specifically, they consist of:

  • Wind turbine: generates electricity from the force of wind both day and night. Its power tend to be less than 100 kW.
  • Controller: same function as photovoltaic, although in this mode fewer energy peaks are generated.
  • Accumulator: same function as photovoltaics, although in this case the wind strength is more continuous than solar radiation.

The advantages of mini wind energy are undeniable. It is a resource that can be used day and night at any time of the year. It is silent and generates energy close to the point of consumption, therefore avoiding transport losses. Furthermore, its installation is relatively simple and requires little maintenance.