Reduce the energy poverty of the vulnerable population in Barcelona
by generating electricity from
photovoltaic solar energy on public buildings
Can Energy Communities alleviate the energy poverty of the vulnerable population in Barcelona?
The challenge counted with the participation of various departments of the Barcelona City Council; the Municipal Data Office, the Social Rights Office and the Energy and Environmental Quality Direction, ACCIONA's energy efficiency experts as a corporate collaborators, the startup ImpactE whose mission is to facilitate the energy transition in cities through the development of SaaS tools for urban energy planning and lastly, the Data Science Department of the University of Barcelona as academic partner.
10.6% of the population of the city of Barcelona is in a situation of Energy Poverty  while Barcelona has a high potential for solar energy generation.
The project focused on simulating the impact of Energy Communities between municipal building and households in a situation of energy poverty in three neighbourhoods of the city of Barcelona: Poblenou, La Marina and Vila de Gràcia. The challenge consisted in identifying the optimal Energy Communities in each neighbourhood, understood as the ones supplying the maximum surplus of solar energy - generated from municipal buildings and public spaces - and generating a maximum impact on the spending of households in a situation of energy poverty.
 Climate Plan 2030, Ajuntament de Barcelona
 Real Decreto 244/2019
of the population suffers from energy poverty in Barcelona*
* The 2030 Climate Plan of the Barcelona City Council defines Energy Poverty as the inability of a household to satisfy the basic energy needs of its members, such as keeping the home in conditions of air conditioning suitable for health (from 18ºC- 20ºC in winter and 25ºC in summer).
The SaaS tool developed by the startup ImpactE allows to:
1. Estimate the photovoltaic potential of each of the municipal buildings identified in a given area,
2. Know the demand of each of the consumers and finally
3. Create the most optimal energy communities matching generation and demand.
ImpactE calculated that around 1 MW of photovoltaic power could be installed on the roofs of municipal buildings and available public space of the three neighbourhoods of the study. After partially allocating the generated production to the municipal buildings themselves, the surplus of energy could reach 250 households in a situation of energy poverty in the same neighbourhood with an average impact per household of €250 per year. This saving would mean a reduction of up to 80% on their energy bills.
This collaborative study between the public administration and companies opens a path towards a deeper understanding of the impact of energy communities in Barcelona and validates the viability of installing photovoltaic panels in public buildings, as an effective solution to achieve a savings on the bills of vulnerable groups in the city. We thank all the parties that participated in this project that we carried out at a very critical moment of COVID, which demonstrates, more than ever, the need for public-private innovation. Special thanks to the Rubí Brilla project and Intiam Ruai.