How much electricity do Portuguese households generate?

  • ECO News
  • 30 August 2018

In recent years producing energy at home for self-consumption was no longer a distant thought. The dream was materialized for the Portuguese and the electrical installed capacity increased by 400%.

During the last decade, energy production for self-consumption ( in some cases even selling it to the national headquarters) went from being a far away dream, to actually affecting Portuguese households on a daily basis. To prove there was indeed a shift, one must simply look at how decentralized production increased by about 400% between 2011 and 2017.

“In 2002, the first attempt at producing energy for private consumption in people’s households occurred. At that moment, it was too difficult to overcome the technologic barriers”, the directorate general of energy and geology (DGEG) told ECO.

Over a decade after this first experience, a lot has changed: new regulations, new frameworks, and a new technological evolution in the sector were in place. The conditions for the private consumption to boost in Portugal were gathered, and self-consumption generated from small producers started to increase gradually.

Photovoltaic panels, however, have continued being the Portuguese producers’ favourite types of equipment after all these years.

Photovoltaic panels, the Portuguese small energy producers’ favourites. Photo: Asia Chang


In 2007 and 2008, the first new set of regulations that would help the increase in production were created, establishing new regimes for micro and mini production, with the first type mainly connecting to private household consumption, whereas the second one was related with the redistribution of energy generated in these small production units, more focused therein in the industrial level. Attached to these regulations came a new tax, which was destined at the state, who should pay for all the energy generated from these units that would be sold to the national energy redistribution agency.

Six years later, things have changed substantially. The law nr. 153/2014 forced small producers to say goodbye to the tax benefit guarantee from the state, which would now be set on auctions, and it also joined the units of production together, micro and mini, without distinction, in a group called Small Production Units (UPP).

In line with these new regulations, the Self-Consumption Unit group (UPAC) was created, which were as well subject to different legal procedures. In this case, the redistribution from UPAC’s to the national unit would only happen if there was a production surplus. That meant that it was not necessary to register some of these units, in the case that the production was not relevant besides the scope of the household it was installed in.

If you decide to install a photovoltaic panel or any other energy generator (biodigester, wind turbines, etc), with an engine capacity inferior to 200 W, there is no need to contact the DGEG. However, if your production surpasses that level (and provided that it stays below 1500 W) you will have to communicate it to the regulator. Only the types of equipment that have an engine capacity of over 1500W are therefore required licensing.

Energy generated in households went up by more than 300%

In 2011, still under the legislation that made a distinction between micro and mini production units, the total energy generated in national territory, with an emphasis on the photovoltaic equipment (which took 64.487 kW), reached the 65 thousand kW threshold.

When compared to last years’ results, the energy generated by these units went up by 300%, reaching the amount of 275.481 kW per year being produced on this level.

Recent data from the DGEG indicates that the home-based production of energy should keep growing steadily. From June 2017 to May 2018 it had increased already to 283.126 kW.

Photovoltaics are the Portuguese people’s favourite type of equipment, in terms of energy generating sources. For UPAC’s and UPP’s, last year, 100.208 kW were generated by these panels.

“Solar panels, or photovoltaics, are massifying, given the reduction in their prices, which made the solution even more attractive,” the administrator of EDP Comercial told ECO. António Coutinho explained as well that it is gradually more significant to provide clients with environmentally friendly, clean energy based, and sustainability-oriented solutions.