Spain is the country with the most hours of sunshine in all of Europe. The country was initially a leader in the world in developing solar power, but the economic crisis of 2008 forced the Spanish government to make heavy cuts in subsidies and cap future increases in capacity at 500 megawatts per year. Between 2013 and 2016, installations stagnated in Spain as many other countries such as China and Germany grew drastically to join the United States in being a leader in solar energy production. But because of Spain’s earlier development, the country still remains ahead in concentrated solar power compared to nations just starting out in the sector, and solar energy makes up a third of the power systems installed in the country, a much higher ratio than in many other countries.
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Barcelona Solar History
In recent decades, Barcelona began implementing laws to promote the installation of solar-energy systems in major buildings as a new forum for energy instead of relying on electricity and gas. In 1999, the city passed Solar Thermal By-law, a mandatory compliance that balances all solar energy collected for the city to work on over a 100,000-square-meter surface area, generating an annual power use of 71,000 MWh. Sixty percent of the surface area is found in housing, both individual and apartment buildings. Residential buildings are the main energy consumers due to electrical appliances installed. Legally speaking, building owners must install systems for collecting solar energy to produce clean water and electricity in new or renovated buildings whose uses, residential or commercial, have undergone major changes.
Generating Solar Energy
Barcelona has the opportunity to turn homes into small clean-energy generation plants to offset the energy consumed daily. This is possible due to Barcelona’s excellent climate as a city with many hours of sunlight, as well as renewable-energy technology that is accessible to residents. The Barcelona City Council has been promoting all housing roof terraces as a local resource for installing photovoltaic solar energy panels, where solar radiation is caught and turned into direct-current electricity.
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Spain’s solar energy plants are located in the southwest of the country, but Barcelona can produce their own energy from here in the northeast. The city is committed to developing new, eco-friendly sources of energy at home and has pushed forward with their green energy plan. It’s part of the continent’s push, as well as that of Spain and Barcelona, to change energy consumption and cut down on costs for all homes.
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