A secondary school and a residents’ association have formed a partnership to construct a solar energy community that can extend throughout large areas of the city by installing solar panels on the school’s rooftop.
Solar panels on the roof of Quatre Cantons Secondary School in Poblenou provide enough power for the school and 30 homes in the area.
Every family will get a reduction on their power bill equal to 25% of the total amount for every 500 watts of electricity that they consume.
“The idea was first floated in 2019,” Marike Charlier, spokesman for both the Quatre Cantons school and the citizens’ association, stated.
César Ochoa, a teacher who teaches math at this specific high school and who is also a member of the sustainability committee, said that the school’s objective to minimize energy usage corresponds with the plans that people have. As a consequence of this, the council has agreed to pay for the cost of installing solar panels on the school’s roof, which is estimated to be around $96,000 (or 94,000 euros).
The 30 households that were formerly supplied by Endesa but have now transitioned over to Barcelona Energia, the city’s council-run electricity supplier, since Endesa has been slow to disconnect them from their service.
According to Ochoa, when the school is fully operational, it will receive 30% of the total power generated. It will be possible to meet some of its requirements since this is simply a trial project. During the break between school terms, this source of power will be accessible to everyone who has a need for it.
The previous conservative government in Spain observed a decline in solar power after imposing a “sunshine tax” on individual consumers or energy communities. The large power corporations claimed that this fee represented unfair competition.
The current policies of the government have reduced tariffs on solar installations, which has led to a rise in localized rooftop installations, such as Quatre Cantons, rather than enormous solar farms remote from densely inhabited regions.
Last year, Spain generated 46% of its energy from renewable sources, although solar (1,8%) still lags behind wind (23%) and hydroelectric (11.4%).
Charlier says that the plan has always been to make the array reach farther than that, even though the legal limit for solar installations in Spain is a radius of no more than 500 meters (in France and Portugal, the limit is two kilometers).
She also points out that Quatre Cantons is only 1,640 feet away from 11 other public structures. So, by adding new installations, the system’s capacity could be greatly increased. This would also make it possible to use the system throughout the whole area around it.
Municipal government priorities include tripling the use of on-site solar energy in the public and commercial sectors by 2030. The councilor for climate change and ecological transition, Eloi Badia, adds, “These energy communities are truly remarkable, and they make it possible to identify solutions that would not otherwise be practical.” Everyone in Barcelona should have solar panels on their roofs as a final solution.