Its 400 inhabitants will save 80 percent of their electricity bill when the investment pays off in a few years
The 400 inhabitants of the small town of Ballesteros de Calatrava (Ciudad Real) are going to save nearly 80 percent of their electricity bills thanks to a pioneering project by which they will be self-sufficient in solar energy. This is an initiative promoted by the city council of this town more than a year ago but it has not been possible to start up until now due to the procedures that have had to be followed with the electricity company (Unión Fenosa) to obtain its authorization.
Once the technicians will shortly connect the photovoltaic system to the electrical network to dump the excess electricity into it, in a first phase the solar panels will supply energy for all the public lighting of the town and for 25 homes. In the short term, before the end of the year, the rest of the houses in the town will be able to supply themselves with solar energy as well as the municipal offices through the photovoltaic panels installed on the plot given by a neighbor.
According to the mayor of this town, Juan Carlos Moraleda Herrera, from the PSOE, "we are talking about a pioneering project in Spain that we have promoted from the town hall and that does not oblige the residents to contribute financial amounts since the cost of the installation is amortized little by little with the savings on the electricity bill until the investment has been completed, something that will happen in about seven years. Neighbors who want to be beneficiaries of this project only have to sign up for the energy community that we have created.
In this first phase, the energy supply with photovoltaic panels will only work during daylight hours, but in the future the supply will be guaranteed 24 hours a day thanks to a storage plant. Plates will also be installed on the roofs of municipal buildings "to guarantee the supply of 700 kilowatts per hour that the town needs."
The project has had a cost of around 380,000 euros, of which 138,000 come from the European LEADER funds managed by the Association for the Development of Campo de Calatrava, and for its execution it has been necessary for the city council to create an energy community in collaboration with the company “+Inteligencia”, which is the marketer.
Although Ballesteros de Calatrava will be able to supply itself with solar energy, the town will not be disconnected from the electricity grid as a precautionary measure to avoid the absence of energy if the installed voting system fails. "Another advantage of this project is that not only will there be savings on the electricity bill, but also the unconsumed energy production can be sold," explains the mayor, who has received numerous calls from other city councils in the country showing interest in this initiative. which will be imitated by other towns in Ciudad Real, a province of La Mancha where the sun is present almost all year round. This is the case of the 14 municipalities that make up the Commonwealth of Campo de Calatrava.