NewEnergyNews: POWER FROM THE GRAVEYARD

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    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    POWER FROM THE GRAVEYARD

    Conste-Live Energy runs the cemetery in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, a Barcelona, Spain, suburb. It is also in the New Energy business.

    Conste-Live Energy wanted to build solar. The problem: Though Santa Coloma likes solar energy, it is densely populated. Santa Coloma is home to 124,000 people in 4 square kilometers (1.5 square miles).

    In a town where flat open space is too valuable to waste, the cemetery’s mausoleum rooftop seemed to Conste-Live Energy like an obvious site for solar panels.

    Not everybody in Santa Coloma liked the idea. It took 3 years to get full approval.

    Antoni Fogue, city council member, Santa Coloma: "Let's say we heard things like, 'they're crazy. Who do they think they are? What a lack of respect!' "

    A public awareness campaign and promises to do the installation respectfully finally won out. Proving, once again, the inevitability of New Energy.

    Not to mention its likely immortality.

    Esteve Serret, director, Conste-Live Energy: "The best tribute we can pay to our ancestors, whatever your religion may be, is to generate clean energy for new generations. That is our leitmotif…"

    Santa Coloma has 4 other rooftop solar installations but the one on the mausoleum roof, because of the available south-facing space, is by far the biggest.


    A view of the mausoleum and the panels. (click to enlarge)

    Solar panels on graves give power to Spanish town
    Daniel Woolls, November 23, 2008 (AP)
    and
    Spain sets up solar cemetery
    24 November 2008 (BBC News)

    WHO
    Conste-Live Energy (Esteve Serret, director); Santa Coloma City Council (Antoni Fogue, member)

    WHAT
    A cemetery in Spain has placed solar panels atop its mausoleum.

    A view of the mausoleum and the panels. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    The cemetery’s solar system went online November 19 after a 3-year development and installation process.

    WHERE
    - Santa Coloma de Gramenet is a working-class suburb of Barcelona, Spain.
    - The mausoleum offered the especially productive opportunity to face the panels southward. (But they were kept at a low angle to limit the visual intrusiveness of the installation.)
    - Cemeteries in Spain have solar panels on office building roofs but this is probably the 1st mausoleum installation.

    WHY
    - The cemetery holds the remains of ~ 57,000 people.
    - Flat, open, sunny space is rare in Santa Coloma, making the mausoleum one of the few viable spots for the town’s solar energy program.
    - The 462 solar panels cover less than 5% of the surface area but transform the mausoleum’s 5 layers of coffins and rows of fake flowers from “a place of perpetual rest into one buzzing” with New Energy.
    - The panels cost 720,000 euros ($900,000) to install and cut 62 tons/year of greenhouse gas emissions.
    - The town’s goal is to build enough solar to triple its capacity

    click to enlarge

    QUOTES
    Antoni Fogue, city council member, Santa Coloma: "There has not been any problem whatsoever because people who go to the cemetery see that nothing has changed…This installation is compatible with respect for the deceased and for the families of the deceased."

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