Is it worth installing solar panels?

Every winter we have a rise in the price of electricity in the coldest days, but do we know if we would have had solar panels it would have affected us in the same way? This depend of the light contract that we have, but for sure, the price wouldn’t have been so high.

For some years now, it has been a mandatory for all new construction buildings to offer some kind of energy saving system as photovoltaic panels (solar panels), aerothermal. In the other hand, if our building is old, surely, it doesn’t have any of these systems; but this doesn’t mean that we can’t install them later, either for our own consumption of for community consumption.

Photo by Angie Warren

Photo by Angie Warren

The advantages of installing photovoltaic panels are many, for example:

– One of the best known is the savings we make on the electricity bill.

– Responsible and ecological behavior by reducing the consumption of fossil fuels.

– Reduce emissions from the conventional electricity production system by relying less on external energy.

Obviously, we can also find some small disadvantages such as the fact that solar panels reduce their efficiency from 25ºC of temperature because the cells suffer a long-term degradation and reducing efficiency by 0.5% for each degree higher than 25ºC. This fact has an easy solution and it is to turn the area where the panels are into a green roof so that the ambient temperature gets cooler, so that the panels do not lose efficiency.

Therefore, in the end it does not end up being so serious if we compare it with what the plates give us; having them is always a good option.

Surpluses and compensation

But installing the panels it can be different depending on whether we live in a single family house or in a neighbours association building. In the first case, it is much easier to install them since they can be distributed over different places such as roofs, terraces or even in garden areas to be able to supply the house with the necessary energy because the land where they can be installed is larger than if you live in a building. On the other hand, in the case of living in a neighbours association, when it is time to install it there are several possibilities and several cases that we will talk about in a future post, but in the case that all the neighbors want to have solar energy to use and also want to use for the community, the area where the panels will be placed is usually on the roofs that usually do not have enough space to supply all the floors and the community with the energy that is needed.

Photo by Jose G. Ortega Castro

Photo by Jose G. Ortega Castro

Despite this, in both cases, one of the options when installing the solar panels is that you can decide if you want an internal network with surpluses and compensation. That means that the energy generated and not used can be poured into the network, and that ends up having an impact on our electricity bill, since they will compensate us by subtracting a percentage from the total price we have to pay. This happens because during the time when the panels generate the most energy (the central hours of the day) is when the least energy is usually needed in a residential building.

For this same reason, having solar panels doesn’t mean that you do not have to use the power from the electrical network since during the hours of the day that more power is needed (usually in the afternoon and at night) the panels don’t generate enough and you have to consume a percentage of energy from the electrical network. Therefore, with the internal network that allows surpluses and compensation, we end up paying to our electricity company less than without solar panels for 2 reasons:

– Because we consume less external energy from the electric company.

– Because we pour a percentage of what we produce and they compensate us.

But if what we want is to avoid pouring the energy that we have left over some hours and not consuming from the network for others, there is a small solution and that is, at the time the photovoltaic panels are installed in the building, investing and also placing a battery to save the energy left over from the longest hours of sunshine to consume it during the most necessary moments. The problem is that nowadays batteries have quite high prices and their useful life is shorter than the panels life, which is why the majority of users of photovoltaic panels decide to pour the energy into the network to have a discount.

And… the price of the panels?

Photo by Science in HD

Photo by Science in HD

At the beginning, the amount of money that needs to be paid for the panels and the installation may seem very high (in 2019 the average price of an installation was around 300-400€ per sqm); but you have to know that photovoltaic panels have a useful life of about 25 years and it is proven that the initial investment is recovered, more or less, in 5 years (in the case of a neighborhood association) as savings are made in the power bill. During the other 20 years, once the initial investment is recovered, what we do is pay less for the electricity bill than what we paid up to that moment, therefore, in the long run we save much more than the price that the entire installation cost.

If we still have doubts, we must know that depending of the town we can find regulations that help to implement these types of power generation systems. For example, 50% discount in an real estate tax (IBI) for a certain time, you can find some cities that also give subsidies to make it easier for the neighbors to decide to do the installation, aid from the Program for the Energy Rehabilitation of Buildings (PREE)…

In addition, there are different payment methods for the installation of photovoltaic panels:

– Make the full payment at the time of installation being the owner of the entire infrastructure.

Internal financing with the installation company where payments are made in agreed terms for a certain time.

– Some companies offer the possibility of doing the installation for free by reaching an agreement to rent the roof where the panels are placed and offering a percentage discount on the electricity bill, but in this case the plates wouldn’t be our fate of the installation company.

Whichever option we choose, it is clear that renewable energy are the future and they are increasingly being seen in more places, there are even single-family houses that are built without a power network connection, being 100% autonomous in terms of electricity consumption.

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What is the GreenDEX?

We have had GreenDEX in most of the cities where we have real estate for a long time. And this past September it arrived in one of our important cities: Sant Cugat. Now we have almost 100% of our properties covered by GreenDEX. However, maybe we should clarify some concepts that are still not completely clear to us.

What is GreenDEX, how is it calculated and what is it for?

To answer all these questions, we have contacted the GreenDEX’s creators, the catalan company StarLab, and they have explained to us through a video the doubts and how they created the index.

StarLab gave us the opportunity to measure, with the index, the quality and quantity of vegetation around the buildings. This way we can add more value to the homes we have and, thus, our clients can value the quality of life that can have in each property related to the surroundings.

As explained in the video, GreenDEX is calculated with a ratio of 100 meters around the house using high-resolution satellite images, measuring the green roof and the types of vegetation, and integrating everything in the index maps. In addition, it is updated in real time in case there may be changes. Nevertheless, the thing does not stop here, looking at the future, StarLab is working to assess the quality of the air and traffic around each property.

The symbols we use to mark GreenDEX rating scale are the numbers from 1 to 5, with 1 being the maximum for vegetation and 5 being the lowest value.

Moreover, the best way to see the vegetation index in each city is through the GreenMap that you can find next to the descriptions of each property in our web site, focusing on the town area where you are.

Thanks to the application of GreenDEX technology and the information it provides us, 1 year ago we received the Most Innovative Marketing Technique award by Luxury Real Estate from the United States and where businessmen from the sector from more than 70 countries meet.

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Eixample Esquerra, the best neighborhood of 2020

A few days ago, Time Out Barcelona magazine did a poll to find out which are the best neighborhoods in the world based on the opinions of local people and experts from the different Time Out magazines in the world. And this 2020, our neighborhoods have acquired a new dimension due to the lockdown that many cities have suffered, a fact that has forced people to live closer to their neighbors.

There are neighborhoods and shops that during this time have reinvented themselves, and this has made many people rediscover the neighborhood where they live and their neighbors, increasing their satisfaction. After this and compiling the information from the poll, the neighborhood that has turned out to be at the top of the list has been the Eixample Esquerra of Barcelona. It became a neighborhood with a lot of positive energy through its balconies, organizing events between neighbors, support networks were created, some shops and restaurants offered discounts. All these things to have a better lockdown in the neighborhood.

Now if someone, after knowing all this, has in mind to live there, we want to show you some apartments that we have in the area with this wonderful environment.

27032- Fantastic flat in Eixample Esquerra neighborhood

It is a second-hand apartment of 135sqm, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a terrace located in a stately building from 1906. They have renovated it and have rehabilitated some original elements while introducing modern materials of the highest quality.

26921- Sensational high standing penthouse

This 275sqm duplex penthouse with 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms has a spectacular terrace on the top floor with magnificent views of the city. In addition, throughout the house there are large windows that give a lot of light. It is located in a building that was built in 1990 and has a concierge service and parking.

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Keep going!

Holidays are over and “as the world does not stop… we keep going!

We are surrounded by uncertainties, concerns, fears… but at the same time we are providing the best possible service at all times, we want to keep growing, we bet on the future, we are full of enthusiasm, new ideas and illusions, we keep working with a great team of more than 80 professionals.

We still thinking and working for a Barcelona and its surroundings, which are very beautiful despite the fact that now we are sad by the number of commercial premises, closed hotels, etc. How many businesses and, above all, how many jobs lost. This is the most worrying thing!

We believe that it is time to make a great effort for the people, obviously, but combine it with a great effort for the City: to turn it beautiful, clean, safe, attractive, friendly, easy… We have the feeling that now we see a decaying city, dirty, with daily graffiti, more neglect, more occupation, and this cannot be. The crisis is of such a dimension, it has affected so many countries, all the cities will fight to be the first one to recover, and in this fight, we cannot be left behind, we are gambling too much! We will see the vision and commitment of the government and the different administrations.

In addition, as we have to keep going, we can explain to you how we have seen the real estate market in these last two months, July and August, from our experience:


  • 19 new-build homes have been deeded, sold on plan a time ago, and we have only had 2 resignations: one from a client related to the restaurant sector and the other due to a serious illness.
  • There have been 26 sales of new construction, a 12% higher in relation to the previous year. However, if we calculate it from January to August of this year, a 38% less has been done in global operations.
  • In the case of the second hand and luxury, the numbers of operations have increased due to the fact that immediately after finish the lockdown the demand for houses outside Barcelona and for houses with terraces grew.
  • Until today, it is not being more difficult to get a mortgage.


It is the same that happen in the case of commercialization-sale, in the two months of July and August there have been 12% more operations than the same period of the previous year, but in since January there is 5% less that the last year.

Patrimonial rental

  • We have managed to keep debts very controlled, we have gone from 0.85% that we had until March of this year, to 1.63% that we currently have, it is little in relation to the average for the sector, but we have doubled.
  • The re-negotiations of the contractual conditions have represented 15% of our portfolio, most of which we are talking about business premises, reaching an agreement in 93% of the cases.
  • Voluntary rescission of rental contracts are at the same level as in 2019.

Patrimonial Owners community

  • The debt in Communities is, until August 31, 6.4%; it has increased 33% in percentage terms.
  • What has increased a lot have been incidents, mostly due to coexistence issues caused by the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 and due to the difficulties of finding experts to solve the most urgent issues during the first moments of lockdown.
  • It should be noted that we did 28 online meetings with the communities of owners and all the meetings to follow up. We had been trying this for years and now has been the time.


  • In the investment area, we have had a certain stoppage, but none of the operations that were underway have fallen.
  • Moreover, in the area of tax and legal consulting, the files have increased. In the case of tax, because the numbers of rents and patrimony have increased, and in the case of legal it’s because, unfortunately, more inheritances have been managed, a direct effect of COVID-19. From here our condolences and accompaniment to all the families who have lost a loved one.

We want to thank the suppliers, collaborators, external professionals and our team that has done everything possible and impossible to continue with the activity.

Finally, what trend will we see in prices? Everyone is asking this question today. Our vision is that prices will remain with some downward repositioning in the cases in which our valuations have been valued below the expectations of the owners. Despite this, we are at uncertain times.

We are aware that difficult times are coming for almost everyone, that in our sector already are and will surely be harder, but we are positive, we believe that the entire society is sufficiently sensitized to make an extra effort to move forward, we will keep going and we will go out!

Immaculada Amat

Amat Immobiliaris President

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The real estate market numbers so far

Last Friday we presented our 2019 Market Report in an online conference, and we take the opportunity to also show our COVID Crisis Management Report. We explain the current numbers because the situation has changed from last year and there was no point in talking only about the 2019 numbers, we know that the current situation worries us. For this reason, we wanted to explain very well how the market is currently.

25 people connected to listen to the data while the Amat Immobiliaris’s Managing Director, Guifré Homedes Amat, was explaining the data and answering questions from journalists.

2019 was a stable year with the same sales as the previous year, and with 500 brand new properties that were delivered late because there were delays with the licenses and also due to changes in the mortgage laws. As for rental contracts, we had an increase of 10% compared to 2018.

Focusing on the 1st term of 2020, before COVID-19, the year started strongly. We had a median of 34 new rental contracts and 26 sales per month, 13% more compared to 2019.

But with the impact of the coronavirus, this dynamic stopped. During the first week of lockdown, contacts fell by 80% and we rescheduled visits thinking that we would be less time at home. Teleworking was not a problem, since after 2 days we were already working 100% from home.

Instead, we moved forward creating a negotiation framework to offer solutions to owners and tenants regarding rents; the owners’ response was very good since “all of them has rowed to help the tenants so they don’t leave,” Homedes confessed. We had a total of 247 requests, 13% of our customers, 9% in homes and 38% in premises. All this process, by the Patrimonial team, was emotionally charged and very intense work. The Administration team has also had to deal with conflicts in common areas such as swimming pools, emergencies or damage caused by the heavy rains of some days. All this has been done through calls, e-mail and we have even introduced video calls with the owners to hold meetings.

These 9 weeks were a time of ‘non-market’, supply, demand and operations were frozen, trying to hold them until we could make visits, since “we can do 80% of the work digitally, but we have to physically finish it with the visits” explained the Managing Director. Despite the moment of ‘no-market’, we were under lockdown at the time of delivering 2 brand new promotions and doing the real estate deeds, in order to do it “very curious situations have been seen”.

With the arrival of the reopening phases, it was when we began to be able to make visits and we had a very high entry of interested people, both for sale and for rent. Of the rental operations that were underway before the lockdown, 25% of them fell, but as a setoff, the rental contracts are closing very quickly.

Many of the new requests that are coming are from people who want to leave the cities and are looking to have terraces, gardens and natural light at home. In addition, with the forced entry of teleworking, we are also verifying that the offices “are a room that had lost interest in the last years but now it are gaining much value,” reasoned the CEO of Amat.

From the start of the reopening until last Friday, June 19, when these data were presented, we have made 17 sales and 36 rental contracts, despite this, Guifré Homedes predicts that “the commercial euphoria that we have now on these weeks will loosen ”, but that the scenario is very different from what happened in 2008.

Regarding second-hand sale prices, at the moment we are not seeing any trend either upward or downward, in the case of rental, it is still early to see it, and in new construction homes “we do not expect them to drop because the sale is very advanced and we understand that the developers will not lower the prices ”. Despite these data, Homedes explained that “if there is no offer it is very difficult for prices to drop, but if the worker’s salary goes down it is going to be very difficult for them to pay and then prices will have to be lowered, we lack perspective to see what will happen ”.

The forethought we have for 2020 have changed with respect to what we saw at the end of 2019, and now we foresee that we will sell 40% less and rent 20% less, this decrease will be due to the months of inactivity. Despite these data, each week we have to review the forecasts to adjust them a little better.

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