Significant energy savings in treatment plants with solar panels in the Conca de Barberà

Climate change is a reality that we are currently feeling in different ways. Public administrations, long ago, have implemented policies to mitigate its effects, and fight against it. This means making changes in energy consumption, and also in other aspects. One of these examples can be found in the Montblanc, Espluga de Francolí, Santa Coloma de Queralt and Solivella treatment plants.

The Conca de Barberà Regional Council, the entity that manages these treatment plants, has launched an initiative to carry out a photovoltaic installation. At this time the project is approved, and it is pending that it go out to tender.

All of this started some time ago when they began a potential study, because treatment plants have a very high energy consumption. As a result of this, they saw that it was feasible to put solar panels, and to be able to have a return in the short and medium term, except in the Senan treatment plant, which has different characteristics than the other four. For this they have requested funding from the Catalan Water Agency (ACA), and they hope that in 2023 it can start operating. The intention they have is that once the same company has gone out to tender, it will take over, since they do not have four different interlocutors. The planned amount is around 240,000 euros, and the action will last between two and three months.

Each treatment plant will have a different energy saving, but the average is calculated to be between 40% and 50% between all of them. Some reach almost 60%, and others that approach 40%.

Climate change

Mireia Palau, environmental technician at the Barberà Basin Regional Council, commented that "it is one more measure to adapt to the objectives of the 2030 agenda to mitigate the effects of climate change". She added that this action will mean "savings and a reduction in emissions, and that it can also affect the tons of oil that are consumed." Specifically, according to her calculations, there would be a decrease of 19.81 tons of oil in Montblanc, 4.82 in Espluga de Francolí, 4.75 in Santa Coloma de Queralt, and 3.37 in Solivella. Palau assured that "the social, economic and environmental repercussion is immediate and very important with the whole environment".

In total, between the four treatment plants, some 369 solar panels will be installed, which they hope will be at full capacity during the next year. "It is the continuity of other actions that we have carried out," assured Palau, who also commented that during 2023, if they can, they want to change the luminaire, of the treatment plants, and make them LED. «With all this that we do we follow a line of action, which we had already set in motion». Montblanc also wants to install a photo line, a canopy with a roof made of solar panels that allows electric vehicles to be powered by this renewable energy. For a few years now, all the vehicles at the Montblanc sewage treatment plant have been electric, which will be very useful for them.

This has not been possible to carry out in Senan The environmental technique explained that it is a different installation, smaller, where a complete treatment is not carried out. For this reason, it was not worth putting solar panels. Now they study alternatives.

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