What Does Spain Know That The US Doesn’t – Not only do they lead the world in solar

They lead in the US as well.


Spain Leads the World in New Solar Energy Development

Published on April 7th, 2009


Posted in About Energy, In Europe

According to a newly released draft of a report by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), Spain now leads the world in added photovoltaic capacity.

Solar Energy Panels

Although Germany is still the leading nation in total grid-connected solar photovoltaic capacity, this news now means Spain has surged into second place there. The report comes as an embarrassment for a floundering Japan, who used to lead the world, but now has fallen to third place in total capacity and forth place in added capacity.

Spain added 1.7 million kilowatts of capacity in 2008, followed by Germany at 1.5 million kilowatts. The United States lagged behind in a distant third place at 300,000 kilowatts, followed by Japan with only 240,000 kilowatts. The news is disappointing for Japan, but it should be equally as distressing for the United States, which continues to show only slow improvements year.


This is why. They give awards for being sustainable!


Good Practice Case Study: Sustainable Energy Solutions in Barcelona – Spain

Case Study (45 KB PDF)

Imma Mayol i Beltran receives the ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award 2007 from Alfonso González Finat In 2007, Barcelona won the ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award for their committment to Sustainable Energy Solutions in Barcelona.The Award was presented to Imma Mayol i Beltran, Vice-Mayor of Barcelona and President of Agència d’Energia de Barcelona, Spain during the plenary session of the ManagEnergy Annual Conference Award by Alfonso González Finat, Conference Chair [left].

Link to website for Directorate-General for Energy and Transport

link to presentation

ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award 2007

Feb 2007   ( 14min 0sec )    

Link to website for Directorate-General for Energy and Transport

link to presentation of Imma Mayol

Barcelona – sustainable energy city

Feb 2007   ( 9min 0sec )    

Imma Mayol
Deputy Mayor and Chairman of Sustainability, Barcelona


The goals of Barcelona City Council’s Plan for Energy Improvement in Barcelona (2002-2010) are to increase the use of renewable energy (especially solar energy), reduce the use of non-renewable energy sources and lower the emissions produced by energy consumption in order to meet Barcelona City Council’s international protection commitments. This integrated plan includes a quantification of the energy used and emissions produced in the city and provide scope for municipal action to promote an environmentally sustainable city, reducing air pollution and the consumption of fossil fuels in the process. As part of its plan a Solar Thermal Ordinance has been introduced. The aim of the ordinance is to regulate, through local legislation, the implementation of low-temperature systems for collecting and using active solar energy for the production of hot water for buildings. New buildings and buildings undergoing major refurbishment are required to use solar energy to supply 60% of their running hot water requirements. Since its enforcement licenses for the installation of a total of 14,028 square meters of solar panels have been requested with annual savings of 11,222 Megawatt hours and a corresponding reduction in eCO2 emissions of 1,973 tonnes per year.


The strategies named promotion policies and demonstration projects have been present in the city for several years, with different examples such as the installation of solar systems in schools, sports centres (solar thermal installation in the Olympics Swimming Pool ) or in some other public buildings (solar photovoltaic installation in the Town Hall building).

Concerning legal instruments, Barcelona is the first European city to have a Solar thermal ordinance. According to this bylaw all new buildings and buildings undergoing major refurbishment are obligated to use solar energy to supply 60% of their running hot water requirements. This solar ordinance was approved by the Barcelona City Council in July 1999 and entered into force in August 2000. This new policy has brought Barcelona to multiply per more than 10 the surface of solar thermal square metres (licenses requested), moving from 1,1 sqm /1.000 inhabitants (in 2000) to 13 sqm/1.000 inhabitants [as of march 2004, the licenses requested for the installation of solar panels made up a total of: 19.543 sqm of solar panels (before: 1650 sqm)]. We are happy to see these results and specially to see that more than 20 Spanish cities are now “replicating” this initiative taking Barcelona as a model.

The Barcelona Energy Improvement Plan (PMEB), a 10 year plan adopted in 2002, and the Barcelona Energy Agency, are two major management instruments that ensure the commitment of the City to further promote these energy measures in a planned and structured manner. The Barcelona Energy Improvement Plan proposes a series of measures and 55 projects for local action up to the year 2010, these being centred on energy savings and in the use of renewable energies.

The municipal action promoting a sustainable energy city also works towards the integration of sustainable energy measures in urban developments, an example of this integration are thesustainable energy measures in the Forum Barcelona 2004 area. The major Sustainable Energy measures in the Forum 2004 area are the following:

  • Urban solar FV power station (10.700 sqm, 1,3 MWpic)
  • District heating & cooling system, and
  • Energy efficient buildings.


To find similar reports, click on a keyword below:
Buildings : Cooling : District Heating : Energy Efficiency : Heat/Heating : Local Government : ManagEnergy : New Buildings : Planning issues : Refurbishment of Buildings : Regional Government : Regulatory framework : Renewable Energy Sources & Systems : Schools & Colleges : Solar Thermal : Sustainable Communities : Sustainable Energy



Solar Energy in Spain

Spain forges ahead with plans to build concentrating solar power plants, establishing the country and Spanish companies as world leaders in the emerging field. At the same time, the number of installed photovoltaic systems is growing exponentially, and researchers continue to explore new ways to promote and improve solar power. This is the seventh in an eight-part series highlighting new technologies in Spain and is produced by Technology Review, Inc.’s custom-publishing division in partnership with the Trade Commission of Spain.

From the road to the Solúcar solar plant outside Seville, drivers can see what appear to be glowing white rays emanating from a tower, piercing the dry air, and alighting upon the upturned faces of the tilted mirror panels below. Appearances, though, are deceiving: those upturned mirrors are actually tracking the sun and radiating its power onto a blindingly white square at the top of the tower, creating the equivalent of the power of 600 suns, which is used to vaporize water into steam to power a turbine.

This tower plant uses concentrated solar technology – otherwise known as solar thermal power – with a central receiver. It’s the first commercial central receiver system in the world.

Spanish companies and research centers are taking the lead in the recent revival of concentrated solar power, as expanses of mirrors are being assembled around the country for concentrated solar plants. At the same time, Spanish companies are also investing in huge photovoltaic fields, as companies dramatically increase production of PV panels and investigate the next generation of PV. Spain is already fourth in the world in its use of solar power, and second in Europe behind Germany, with more than 120 MW in about 8300 installations of PV. Within only the past ten years, the number of companies working in solar energy has leapt from a couple dozen to a few hundred.

Power from the Sun’s Heat
Southern Spain, a region known the world over for its abundant sun and scarce rain, provides an ideal landscape for solar thermal power. The tower outside Seville, built and operated by Solúcar, an Abengoa company, is the first of a number of solar thermal plants and will provide about 10 MW of power. The company SENER is completing Andasol 1, the first parabolic trough plant in Europe, a 50 MW system outside Granada that will begin operation in the summer of 2008.

Solar thermal power, also known as concentrating solar, works by utilizing the heat of the sun (unlike PV panels, which work on the principle of the movement of electrons between layers when the sun strikes the materials).


At one level this is great. At a personal level it sucks.

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