Today, photovoltaic solar technologies are a way to transform the energy that comes from the sun into electrical energy. In this case, the energy is generated by solar panels.
Definitely, taking advantage of solar energy is becoming increasingly popular. Since the trend is to move towards green energy systems that substitute the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources such as coal or oil.
Benefits of Renewable Energy Systems
With Renewable energy systems (RES) the energy generated and not immediately consumed is stored in batteries or fed into the electricity grid. Furthermore, these systems allow users to produce their own electrical energy to power their homes or premises.
For the most part, self-consumption facilities are easy to understand and use. In the case of the REACT project’s solution to La Graciosa, these systems connect photovoltaic panels to the user’s electronic devices and their internal network with the controlled systems. Thus, allowing the installation to be managed in person or remotely.
These installations normally consist of the following equipment:
- The photovoltaic panels (PV) are installed on the rooftop or any appropriate surface. They capture the sun’s energy and transform it into electrical energy.
- Secondly, the inverter is the device that transforms this energy into energy ready to be used by converting direct current to alternating current.
- Then, the batteries, store the energy that has been generated and not consumed, making it available for later use, for example, at night when the panels are not producing new energy.
- Finally, the monitoring system sends the information about the equipment and the generation of energy to the control center. The latter checks that everything works correctly.
To begin with, producing and managing your own energy can significantly reduce its consumption and the costs of electricity bills. In other words, if the user has an energy storage system, the saved energy could be used during the night when the PV panels are not producing more energy, surely, this will mean cheaper energy bills.
In the long run, the installation of self-consumption devices gives the home / premises a higher market value by increasing its energy efficiency.
To go a step further, RES brings economic and environmental benefits to society. As it reduces costs associated with energy demand by avoiding the transit of energy through hundreds of kilometers of cables, thus, decreasing losses to the transmission and distribution networks.
And most importantly, all this takes better care of the environment. Thanks to this type of self-supply, fewer greenhouse gases are produced, contributing to air quality improvement. Moreover, one ton of CO2 per year is avoided for each kilowatt installed, this clearly tackles climate change. And if that wasn’t enough, it also implies the creation of direct, qualified, and local employment. While it strengths the competitiveness of companies.
REACT is driven by these goals and works to help the pilot islands achieve energy independence, that is to say, for them to be self-sustaining regarding their power supply.
With this in mind, the project promotes the creation of local energy communities where the inhabitants of these territories produce and manage their own electrical energy.
For this reason, at the pilot of La Graciosa, the project plans to install around 20 of these systems which will mean approximately 60 kW of solar generation; around 5% of the island’s demand. This island was chosen as a pilot because La Graciosa’s location provides a significant number of hours of solar radiation per year, an undoubted advantage in recommending photovoltaic self-consumption.
The project offers to participants the installation of a renewable energy system free of charge! These systems are mainly made up of photovoltaic solar panels connected to lithium or lead batteries. REACT will also take care of the maintenance of these facilities during the duration of the project. It is a 4-year research project, that began in January 2019.
The installations carried out will be monitored for their subsequent energy study. It seeks to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve self-sustainability with a more ecological and responsible energy model, reducing production costs and polluting emissions.
In the long run, in other to reach 100% of renewable energy production, residents of the island must act together as a community to manage their own energy production.
Another advantage of the REACT project is its willingness to the medium-term constitution of local energy communities. It is very important during the duration of the project to provide the community with knowledge for self-management and for the inhabitants of the island to get involve and organize themselves to continue promoting the energy independence of La Graciosa in the future. To dive deeper into this, the term local energy communities bring together the concepts of renewable energy communities and citizen energy communities. They can be defined as “legal entities of voluntary and open participation, controlled by shareholders or members who are natural or legal persons (among others: associations, cooperatives, non-profit organizations, companies) and also regional or national local administrations”.
The main social objective will be to offer energy benefits, from which environmental, economic, or social gains also derive to its members or to the locality in which it operates, rather than generating financial profitability. The activities to be developed will be, among others, the generation of energy from renewable sources, its distribution, supply, consumption, aggregation, storage, the provision of energy efficiency services, and recharging services for electric vehicles or other energy services.
Without a doubt, the new opportunities offered by the energy transition in which we are immersed, generate the emergence of new cooperation systems that promote a more just, efficient, and collaborative system of our energy resources. Hence, local energy communities offer an opportunity in this new framework.
Key benefits of energy communities
- Caring for the planet, which is the same as caring for our environment, our living space, the health of our family and community. It means committing to the task of making the energy transition a reality to fight climate change.
- Cost reduction, savings on our electricity bills, which will have a fair price and more transparent information.
- Promotion of the use of clean 100% green energy produced by natural resources.
- Change of a model that, compared to large companies, allows us to take control of the energy we consume, by being part of a cooperative model.
- Support of the primacy of the people instead of financial and speculative interests. All the economic benefit goes to reducing energy costs for those who are part of the energy community, and to the social development of their environment.
- Creation of social, economic, and environmental value, achieving a more sustainable environment.
Get on board! It’s time to REACT!