Now that the electricity bill has reached exorbitant levels for many families, the Madrid Futuro Association has proposed that this is reduced between 30% and 40% in the southern neighborhoods of Madrid. And he wants to do it by multiplying sustainable energy consumption, flooding these districts with solar panels.
“We want to democratize access to plates,” he explains. Pablo Vazquez, director of Madrid Futuro, the non-profit association and public-private collaboration that was created in the first wave of the pandemic with the aim of reinvigorating the city in the midst of a health catastrophe. The word “democratize” he has it perfectly thought out. The north of Madrid, he says, is beginning to fill with solar panels. The chalets, duplexes and houses of La Moraleja, Aravaca or Pozuelo are increasingly stained with the metallic color of these energy plates. “In these rich areas For many families, the investment involved in installing these plates is profitable, “says Vázquez.
The production of energy through this system is cheaper, so the electricity bill is greatly reduced, however, not everyone can afford the panels for individual consumption. “That is why we have thought about how we can transfer that same profitability to the barrios where the communities of owners do not have the financial capacity to be able to carry out the initial disbursement that involves the installation of this photovoltaic system “.
The project plans to install about 100,000 solar panels in the next five years in neighborhoods such as Usera, Villaverde, Carabanchel, Villa de Vallecas or San Blas, but it will depend on the interest of the neighbors
To achieve this, they have spoken with financial institutions and energy companies, they have managed to get the members of the Association to finance the project with an initial investment of ten million euros, they have been talking with him for months. City of Madrid, specifically, with the Urban Planning area directed by Mariano Fuentes, and they have designed a plan. The objective is “to promote the installation of these panels in non-residential and populous areas” and for this the collaborating companies will finance the initial investment and the owners will pay this expense “as if it were a lease.”
The project plans to install near 100,000 solar panels in the next five years in neighborhoods such as Usera, Villaverde, Carabanchel, Villa de Vallecas or San Blas, which are the districts in which Madrid Futuro has already launched other projects of a social nature in its scarce year and a half of life. With this figure, Vázquez’s calculations indicate that about 300,000 families will be able to benefit from a reduction in their electricity bill, which could be up to 40% for each of them.
Although the figures are fictitious, from Madrid Futuro they give the following example: “If now the residents of a community pay an average of 150 euros per megawatt hour in the wholesale market, once they have installed the individual plates, the rate could be reduced to 40 euros. Using the formula we propose, to those 40 euros they will have to add a similar fee for the first six years or so, to pay for the panels, but what they pay will always be much less than those 150 euros they pay now. “ The challenge in the coming months is to deploy an information campaign to reach the communities of owners of these neighborhoods and explain to them what are the environmental and economic benefits of this type of energy and how the Association can help them.
For its part, the City Council will collaborate with this entity by expediting permits and licenses. In September of this year, the Governing Board approved the Ordinance on licenses and planning responsible declarations that will allow, precisely, to simplify the bureaucracy for the installation of these solar panels, and the forecast is that it may already be approved by the Plenary in the first quarter of 2022. In addition, an application has just been launched on the geoportal to be able to carry out a preliminary installation feasibility study, analyzing the roofs and roofs of all of Madrid.
Challenge and saving of CO2 emissions
Sustainability is today one of the challenges of large cities and Spain, having the hours of light that it has per year, it is only the fourth European country in solar energy production, behind Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. In Madrid Futuro they have set their sights on Berlin to propose this project, because according to Vázquez in the city the number of solar panels is three times less than the number installed in the German capital.
And the difference will continue to increase if progress is not made in Madrid because Berlin approved last August the obligation that from 2023, under threat of a fine, all newly constructed buildings and those in which major renovations are carried out have photovoltaic systems on the roof. According to the Madrid Futuro technicians who have designed this project, the installation of these 100,000 plates that they have planned could represent a 4% savings in CO2 emissions.
Origin and evolution of the association
This will be one of the main projects of this Association chaired by the mayor, José Luis Martínez Almeida, and which was created in July 2020 when a group of companies decided to make themselves available to the City Council to see how they could help the people of Madrid to get out of the confusion in which the city had been plunged in the first months of the pandemic. “It was the time when the streets of Madrid were empty and everything was ghostly “recalls Vázquez.
Today the Association has gained two more years of life. It was born with the intention of launching some projects that would help re-boost the city but that had to be sustainable by themselves. “What the city could do by itself did not need to be touched, at that moment we understood that what we needed were transformative initiatives and we could help in the synergistic or particularly complex projects that could need the collaboration of entities from different sectors at the same time “, explains Vázquez.
But the mission of the Association has changed as the health situation has evolved. At the beginning, all concern was focused on the pandemic and the emergencies that it had caused; now the objective is to see where the opportunities are so that Madrid is at the same level as the great European capitals. Hence, the planned date for its dissolution, July 2022, has been postponed. The partners, who have gone from 12 to more than 90 in just one long year, have decided to inject gasoline until December 2024.
Social and digital transformation projects
The economic sustainability of the projects is essential for this entity, so that they can continue to bear fruit in the future. So it has been with Re-plant, designed for the recovery of the green heritage of Madrid after the damage caused by Filomena and whose fruits will be seen in the medium and long term. Also that of “digital bar”, a project with which nearly 500 professional volunteers accompanied the owners of more than 3,000 businesses or hospitality establishments, many of them family-owned, to digitize their businesses during confinement so that they could have their menus on the internet, access to home delivery platforms or even a hitherto non-existent presence on the internet. The need has waned, but the impact of digitization is still alive for these companies.
Since the Madrid Futuro pandemic began, it has helped more than 3,000 businesses and hotel establishments in Madrid to digitize their businesses to have an online presence
Also the support received by the minors of nearly a thousand families in the southern neighborhoods of Madrid, who thanks to the donation of computers were able to follow school classes online and thus reduce the digital divide between neighborhoods. In addition, 250 volunteers participated in this project who acted as tutors for these students who were disengaged by the lack of face-to-face attention.
The internationalization and attraction of talent is also part of the plan of this Association. This is how the opportunity arose to attract the Swedish technology company Klarna to Madrid, which was looking for a headquarters in southern Europe for its engineers hub. This company offers the possibility that consumers can buy different products online but not pay for them until they try them and decide to keep them. And thanks to the intermediation of Madrid Futuro, it already has about 100 engineers working on the project and it is expected that they will reach up to 500 in the next two years.
And for 2022, together with the irruption of solar panels in the neighborhood communities of different districts of Madrid, the Association’s main initiative is the sandbox The development of the technological laboratory that has been launched in Villaverde, where it has turned part of the neighborhood into a space where national and international companies that they have managed to attract can test their projects in a real environment (drones for the distribution of medicines and various products, autonomous cars, delivery robots, etc. of this project is to create more than 3,000 jobs as of this month of January.