Call it the 'new buzz', 'solar industry disease' or 'disruptive development': “self consumption”. As far as i understand it amounts to ‘the production of solar energy purely covering own electricity usage’, so without supplying back to the grid (see also the video by SMA).
Why is it so interesting? Because, in theory, you are not influenced by any government (netmetering) policy. It is like using energy saving LED’s instead of old fashioned light bulbs. You simply reduce your energy consumption. Plus, you save energy at the highest rates, including VAT and energy taxes. So, as you can imagine, it's highly interesting for markets with high electricity tariffs and no feed-in-tariff, like Italy and Spain (though In Spain, even for these kinds of self consumption installations, you need a permit). See the report “ENABLING THE EUROPEAN CONSUMER TO GENERATE POWER FOR SELF-CONSUMPTION” by SunEdison for more information.
You can increase your self consumption by installing an energy storage system behind your energy meter. When you produce more, you can store it for a later time, without feeding anything back into the grid. And that explains the other hype in the solar industry: 'energy storage'. Both topics will be discussed at our conference in Italy, probably one of the most ideal markets kicking off this segment.