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The roofs of the pergolas are equipped with solar panels to maximize surface utilisation , Source: Ajuntament de Barcelona

Low-income Barcelona families will receive solar-generated energy from public pergolas

Low-income Barcelona families will receive solar-generated energy from public pergolas

A positive example of maximizing the utility of urban public space

Authorities in Barcelona have announced the start of a pilot test that will see the provision of free solar energy to low-income families in the city with the goal of lightening their energy bills. The electricity will be produced and provided by photovoltaic pergolas installed in public spaces around the city.

The proposed aim of the project is to see whether this is a viable path to creating self-sufficient energy communities in the Catalonian capital. Likewise, it is a way to maximize the efficient use of public space surfaces in a way that brings benefits to the communities living in their vicinity.

Starting with eleven solar pergolas

The pilot test will begin with eleven solar installations in public space and can be extended in a second phase to twenty such. Initially, it is expected that some 1,010 family units will be able to benefit from the initiative. The second phase can provide energy to more than three thousand households.

In collaboration with social services, an information campaign will be developed among families who meet the criteria and who want to participate in the project. In the event that there are more families than initially planned, they will be selected with priority given to vulnerability criteria and, if necessary, a draw will be held. One of the conditions is that they have to be located within 500 metres of the power-generating pergola.

Families wishing to benefit from it will be able to start doing so within approximately two to three months and for a minimum period of one year. The ultimate goal is to open this initiative to the rest of the citizenry and the business community.

The project will begin in the pergola located in Ronda de Dalt, located next to the Vall d'Hebrón Hospital. At that location the solar panels could supply about 40 family units near the pergola. Each of them would get a share of about 500W of solar energy. That can mean a 25% reduction in their annual energy bills - approximately 200 euros.

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