Today marks a significant milestone in our journey towards a more sustainable and energy-efficient future. We’re thrilled to share the news of inaugurating Portugal’s first renewable energy community in Miranda do Douro, a rural village in Northern Portugal, as part of our ambitious “100 Aldeias” project.
Our vision has now become a reality. This community is not just a step towards renewable energy; it’s a leap towards combating energy poverty in rural and isolated villages across Portugal. We aim to deliver affordable clean energy to over 25,000 families, transforming the energy landscape of Europe.
Harnessing the Power of the Sun
With a production capacity of 73.3 kW, our Miranda do Douro community has already achieved significant savings of €31,500 in the first year alone. Solar energy, abundant in Portugal, was a natural choice for us. It aligns perfectly with our efficiency goals and the country’s climate. As Maria Benquerenca, our Energy Communities Director, puts it, “solar just makes sense.”
Community at the Core
At Cleanwatts, we believe in the power of community. This project was strategically started around influential community buildings managed by Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Miranda do Douro. Their involvement galvanized local participation, emphasizing the communal benefits of solar power. Our approach goes beyond just installing solar panels; it’s about nurturing a sense of cooperation and mutual support, especially in remote areas where community ties are strongest.
Beyond Miranda do Douro
Our ambitions don’t stop here. We plan to have 50 fully functioning energy communities by the end of 2023. Portugal serves as our testing ground, a sandbox where we learn and refine our approach before replicating it in other countries, including planned expansions in Italy and ongoing projects in the United States.
Challenges and Opportunities
Our journey hasn’t been without challenges. The bureaucratic hurdles in Portugal, including paper-based permitting processes, have been significant obstacles. However, our continuous efforts to streamline these processes are paying off, paving the way for faster establishment of more energy communities.
As we look towards the future, our resolve to combat energy poverty and contribute to a sustainable world remains unwavering. We’re not just creating renewable energy communities; we’re building a movement, a collective effort to change how we consume and think about energy.
We invite you to read more about our journey and insights in the detailed article in Solar Power Magazine. It’s not just a story of Cleanwatts; it’s a story of community, sustainability, and hope. Join us in this exciting chapter of renewable energy and be a part of the change.