As 2023 comes to an end, approximately 2,500 households and companies are registered as owners of solar power plants in the register of prosumers that’s maintained by Serbian electricity distribution company EDS [Elektrodistribucija Srbije]. Encouraged by sunshine and aided by modern equipment, during the sunniest hours we receive EMF electricity from these roofs with a total power of nearly 40 MW. This still isn’t a large amount of power, but it has emerged over a period of less than 20 months and is distributed nationwide. Almost 1,900 households and 600 companies will receive electricity from their roofs during every hour of sunshine throughout the lifespan of their solar panels, over the next 20-plus years, and will use it in homes and businesses, while exchanging the surplus with the power system.
This exchange of surplus power was enabled thanks to amendments to legislation that were introduced in 2021 and 2022 and established one of the most modern legal frameworks for energy prosumers, which is how we refer to consumers of electricity who are simultaneously able to produce electricity for their own needs and deliver excess energy produced to the grid. From the moment they decide to shine from their rooftops, prosumers who have power plants with a smaller capacity can – with a dose of good will and a few thousand euros – observe how the electromagnetic forces released from their inverters start powering their devices after just a few days.
Commercial prosumers, who are already confronted by high energy prices, feel only satisfaction and financial relief, and something similar is happening among households that are facing rising prices despite delayed bills. For the price of a ten-year-old used car, you can become an electricity prosumer and a participant in the continuous process of building a sustainable power system.
Let’s also address the caustic sceptics, in which I include myself, and let them know that we are aware that rooftop solar plants won’t be able to replace electricity produced, with enormous effort and weak productivity, from brown coal. But provided they are directed properly, these solar arrays can quickly generate millions of megawatt- hours across Serbia, in places where energy is consumed, and involving tens of thousands of citizens in the building of a sustainable energy system. The Republic of Serbia has used taxpayer funds to further encourage this inclusion. The time has come for the Republic of Serbia to look to the millions of those who are unable to participate in energy transition in this way and direct this money and other funds towards eradicating energy poverty.