Barcelona makes solar mandatory in new buildings

Ordinance aims to produce onethird of city's hot water requirement from thermal solar panels

Most new buildings in the Spanish city of Barcelona will have to be fitted with thermal solar panels, under a special ordinance which came into effect on 1 August. The ordinance, which applies to all new buildings requiring hot water including industrial and commercial premises, was approved last summer. Exemptions will only be granted upon proof that a particular building cannot produce at least 25% of its hot water needs from solar panels.

Barcelona already has a combined installed solar panel surface area of between 2,000-3,000 m2 and the municipal authorities want to increase this to 50,000 m2 by 2004, according to Juan Carlos López, director of the Catalonian capital's energy efficiency department. This is equivalent to a third of the city's current water heating requirement.

Contractors have been given a six-month "period of grace" during which the ordinance will only apply to buildings requiring an annual 400 mega joules water-heating capacity (equivalent to a building with 22 housing units). A threshold of 292 mega joules will then apply. Mr López told ENDS Daily that all existing municipally owned buildings will be equipped with solar panels by 2004, targeting schools as a priority "in order to make future generations aware of the value of renewable energy." Grants totalling approximately euros 300 (SP50,000) per m2 will be made available from city, regional and EU funds.

Follow Up:
Barcelona City Hall Environment Department, tel: + 34 9 32914389.

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