Spain – pioneering project for collective use of solar energy

by Deborah Cater
Solar energy project in Zaragoza starts this summer
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This summer, the Actur Barrio Solar project starts in Actur-Rey Fernando district of Zaragoza. The pilot will allow residents and retailers of the district to benefit from collective solar energy for a small monthly fee.

200 households can participate in the project for which registration is now open. The energy comes from solar panels installed on the buildings of two municipal sports complexes. With the collective energy, participants save an average of 30% on their electricity bill without having to install anything themselves or change energy supplier.

Registration for the pilot is available on the website mibarriosolar.org The dwelling receiving the electricity must be within a radius of 500 metres of the Siglo XXI or Actur V sports complexes.

Social innovation project

Actur Barrio Solar is an initiative of ECODES (the Spanish Foundation for Ecology and Development), EDP (Energy of Portugal) and the Municipality of Zaragoza, in collaboration with the Institute for Diversification and Energy Saving and the Schneider Electric Foundation. The main objective is to increase the accessibility of efficient and sustainable energy for all households. It is a social innovation project which uses sustainable energy and citizen participation to strengthen social cohesion.

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20 vulnerable households benefit free of charge

Because it is not only a sustainable but also a solidarity project, 10% of the generated solar energy is available to 20 vulnerable households. They will be exempt from the monthly contribution. These households will be offered a free energy check and can have their home made more energy efficient for a reduced amount. Zaragoza Vivienda, a social housing association with 480 rental properties in Actur-Rey Fernando, selects the families.

Equivalent to 3,000 trees

A total of around 300 solar panels will be installed on the sports complexes. The have a capacity of 100 kilowatts peak. That is enough to produce 150 thousand kilowatt hours annually. This equates to 40,000 kg of CO2 emitted annually. In other words, Barrio Solar has the same beneficial impact on the environment as 3,000 new trees.

EDP ​​pays for the solar panels and their installation up to a value of €150,000. In total EDP is contributing €335,000 to the project, while ECODES contributes in the form of working hours, around €30,000. The municipality of Zaragoza provides the sports complexes for the installation of the panels. Work on the project will start this spring; the project itself will start at the beginning of the summer.

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