Solar Elecricity



When driving around the countryside here, it is a common site to see fields of solar panels which are capturing the sun’s energy and converting it to electricity which is fed into the grid so the power providers can sell it back to us.  As you drive past, you may be asking yourself how you can also use the sun to generate your own electricity at home and help reduce your electricity bills. Well, you can do this with a solar panel electricity system, also known as photovoltaic (PV).



How do I make my own electricity?

If your house is already connected to the electricity grid, then you will probably need to have a grid connected solar electricity system. Basically, this consists of solar panels, or a solar array, which provide your home’s power needs during the day time while still being connected via an inverter to the local electric grid network. The grid provides power during the night time, or times when the solar system is not meeting all your electricity needs such as during a prolonged cloudy spell, which is luckily not that common in this area of Spain!



How do I connect to the grid?

As well as installing the necessary equipment, you will need to ensure that the installation has the correct permissions and certifications from the power supplier and the Ministry of Interior to ensure it meets current safety and electrical legislation.  Your installer should provide that as part of the installation process, as otherwise if the system is not correctly registered, you may be subject to fines or prosecution.



What if I am not connected to the grid?

Don’t worry, you can have an off-grid system and store surplus photovoltaic electricity in batteries for when you need it.  In addition, you could also consider having a generator as an additional back-up.  This kind of installation is not subject to the same registration requirements as the grid connected one. 



What maintenance do Solar PV Systems require?

Good news! If the system is correctly installed, it should require very little maintenance. It is important to keep the panels clean so they can capture as much of the sun’s energy as possible. Also keep an eye on any trees that may grow up and create shade for the panels as this will make the system less efficient.

Renewable Energy Feature



You may have seen various articles in the Spanish press recently about the current drought that Spain is experiencing.  Although periods of drought are relatively common in Spain, this September was the driest this century.  As the lack of rain has continued into Autumn, we have seen devastating wild fires in the north and speed limits put in place around Madrid to try and reduce the pollution affecting the city.


However, the drought this year has also had another, possibly for many people unexpected, effect.  It has caused an increase in the cost of electricity.  According to laSexta Noticias, this Summer our electricity bills have been 6.5% more expensive than last Summer, which works out around 68 Euros more per household for the first six months of 2017 than for the first six months of 2016.


The reason for this cost increase is that in 2017 hydroelectricity has only met about 10% of the total electricity demand in Spain compared with 20% for the same period in 2016.  Usually a cheap source of power, the lower amount of hydroelectricity being generated is affecting prices in the market.


When it rains, the power companies have to switch on turbines to protect the dams around the reservoirs from being breached and this movement of water generates a cheap source of power. However, when there is no rain and the water levels in the reservoirs are low, the power companies can choose when to activate the turbines and various sources allege that the time when they choose to do this is when electricity prices are at their highest. In the meantime, our electricity must come from other more expensive sources.


What can you do as a consumer? Well, it is always important to be careful with your water usage and not waste this precious resource. Here are some handy tips to follow:

  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth
  • Always use full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher
  • Take a shorter shower
  • Fix a dripping tap


As last month’s article highlighted, you can also make use of another renewable energy source, the sun, to generate your own free electricity and heat your water to lower your electricity bills. Lack of rain means there has been more sunshine which is great for generating solar energy, but solar panels still work on cloudy days too if we do get that longed-for rain.

Renewable Energy Feature 2


Green Energy Predictions for 2018 and beyond


As the New Year begins, here at Free-Sol Solar we’ve been carrying out the usual annual reviews and planning but we thought it may be interesting to share some future trends from the renewable industry.  Whilst all of these products exist today, there may be a little way still to go before they become part of our day-to-day lives…

  • Solar Powered Cars

As the world’s automotive manufacturers plough their research and development funds into electric cars, last year Sono Motors, a start-up from Munich launched the Sion, a solar powered car. In October, a Dutch futuristic family car, Nuna 9, won the annual World Solar Challenge in Australia after travelling at an average speed of 81.2kmh. Maybe you are thinking the next car you buy will be an electric one and as technology continues to develop with a solar car, your car will be capable of generating more power than it consumes and when it is parked at home, it can be charging and supplying energy back to the grid.

  •  Solar Clothing

Researchers in Japan have developed a solar cell that can be

attached to clothes and washed. The ultra-thin organic cell is stretchy and flexible and is expected to be used for wearable devices and e-textiles. The aim was to develop a power source for sensors monitoring things like blood pressor, heartbeat and body temperatures that can be easily attached onto clothes. 

Will this mean no more charging your wearable devices?

  • Emission-free air taxis

The HY4 plane can carry four people, including the pilot and runs on an electrical current from a supply of hydrogen and oxygen, aided by a battery. It is a greener way to travel as it emits nothing except water vapour into the atmosphere.  Instead of the Murcia to Madrid AVE you maybe taking an emission-free air taxi in future.


Whatever the long-term future may hold, the renewable energy industry is agreed that when it comes to solar, not only have solar panelsgot cheaper but they have got more functional also. 

Will 2018 be the year you start having the sun work for you?

Renewable Energy Feature 3


New Year, New Prices


Now the new year is underway and the holidays are well and truly behind us, we are starting to feel the effects of the annual price increases for basic services. As discussed in previous articles, the drought and lack of wind in 2017 as well as the cold spell at the end of the year caused the cost of electricity to rise. December saw our electricity bills increase by an average of 4.6%, with an overall increase of 10% for 2017.


Gas and water also did not escape the price rises. Last month the costs of gas increased 6.2% and at the time of writing, we are waiting to see if the cost of a gas bottle will go up again following the increase of 2.1% in November. The cost increases for water vary city by city but someone living in Murcia pays 6 times more for domestic water usage than someone living in Soria.


We’ve shared some basic tips on how to save water before so here are some tips for how you can save electricity and help reduce your energy bills at home.

  • Use more natural lighting at home. Open curtains and blinds and let the sun light your house. Always turn lights out when leaving a room, regardless of how long for.
  • Rethink your outdoor lighting system. Leaving outside lights on all night can waste a lot of electricity. Instead consider getting solar powered automatic security lights with motion detectors and replacing decorative lights with solar powered ones to complement your garden and pathways.
  • Use energy-efficient light bulbs inside your home. LED bulbs are more energy efficient and they save a lot of electricity and money over time.  
  • Unplug all your appliances and electronics when not in use as they continue using electricity when plugged in, even when the switches are turned off. They may all use small amounts of energy, but it adds up over time. Alternatively, there are products such as standby savers available that allow you to turn all your appliances off standby in one go.
  • Replace your appliances with energy-efficient models. AAA rated appliances are the most efficient and will save you the most money. Drying clothes outdoors costs nothing and uses no energy.
  • Heating and hot water typically accounts for over 60% of what you spend a year on energy bills. Switching to renewable energy solutions such as solar hot water heating; solar electricity and biomass (wood-fuelled including pellets) heating systems can help save you money as well as being kinder to the environment.
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