Most of the time we rely on governments or large companies to help us make the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but one community in Spain took matters into its own hands and created a collective to build a 20-kW solar plant right in their own town. Building a community renewable energy resource – like Huerta Solar Amigos de la Tierra in Sistane, Spain – is one option that ordinary citizens in Spain have explored in an effort to go green, but consumers in Spain don’t have to stop there. People can also purchase green energy through energy collectives, which buy renewable energy at an affordable rate from traditional power utilities, giving citizens of Spain the group power to make real change in their communities.
The muscle behind the community solar idea belongs to Friends of Earth Spain and non-profit Ecooo, who helped empower the citizens of Sistane to take control of their own energy needs. In order to move away from fossil fuels, any individual in the community could buy into the project at 100 euros a share, which allows them to become co-owners and receive profits from the project. Ecooo also helps to install and maintain solar panels for private homes and individuals, in addition to helping communities build larger energy sources.
In addition to community options, citizens can also purchase energy through green collectives. Right now in Spain, anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of the energy generated is renewable and these collectives purchase energy from utilities that is guaranteed to come from green sources. But moving to green energy isn’t the only motivation to join one of these collectives. A combination of high unemployment and rising electricity costs means that there are 47 million people who are having trouble paying for the electricity they need. Energy collectives may be able to influence energy companies in the long-term to help bring costs down. Some cooperatives even generate some power through their own projects, like Zencer, which has been offering Spanish citizens a choice in their energy needs across the nation for several years.
Via IPS News