Spain’s first solar district is in Zaragoza

by Deborah Cater
Solar district operaitonal in Zaragoza from September

In Zaragoza, residents share solar panels on municipal buildings. The first Solar District will come into effect in September. This saves users a lot on their energy bill, is good for the environment and people with a tight budget benefit from it.

A Solar District (Barrio Solar in Spanish) is a project in which solar panels are placed on a large municipal building. Local residents and companies within a radius of 500 meters around the building can use the generated electricity. Participants pay a monthly contribution of €6 and save about 30% on their energy bill. The Barrio Solar is an initiative of the municipality of Zaragoza in collaboration with the Ecodes foundation for sustainable development and with energy company EDP Solar.

Economic, sustainable and social

The aim of the project is to encourage people to jointly generate energy for their own use. Up to 200 homes and businesses can participate. This not only saves them energy costs, but they also receive 100% renewable energy. They reduce CO2 emissions annually by 40,000 kilograms; the impact of this on air quality is just as great as if you plant 3,000 trees. Finally, vulnerable families also benefit from the project. Furthermore, the municipality has selected twenty families who will receive free access to solar energy.

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Solar District starts in September

The first of a total of 240 solar panels are at two sports centres in the Actur-Rey Fernando district, north of the historic centre of Zaragoza. The installation will be ready in September and residents and companies can start using their own sustainable energy. Currently, there are 150 registrations from homes and businesses in the area. Interested parties can still register. When the two hundred places have been filled, the municipality will draw up a waiting list. Participants can leave the project at any time. People on the waiting list then take that place.

European Recovery Fund

Mayor Jorge Azcón of Zaragoza and the directors of Ecodes and EDP Solar were present at the installation of the first panels. The mayor wants to set up a solar district in Zaragoza in at least seven neighbourhoods and thereby inspire other cities. However, expansion of the project is dependent on financial contributions from the European Recovery Fund NexGenerationEU. The Spanish government will determine where that money will go in the near future.

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