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Sharing is caring: How one of Portugal’s leading charities reduced costs and supports local families with a Renewable Energy Community
01 June 20233min reading time


Since the late 16th century, the Santa Casa da Misericórdia has stood at the heart of Miranda do Douro, a small town on the border between Portugal and Spain. The charity provides vital social services to the community, including an elderly care facility, a kindergarten, and home support services.

The Santa Casa has to carefully manage its expenditures and overheads to ensure it can provide the highest quality care to the community it serves. As Portugal enjoys ample sunshine throughout the year, the possibility of lowering their energy costs by generating solar energy was an obvious attraction.

However, the upfront cost of purchasing and installing PV assets was prohibitive. What’s more, the additional factors of bureaucracy, energy management, and the permitting process would not have been feasible for the Santa Casa to manage.

“(Forming a REC) is a way to reduce costs and the ecological footprint of our activity…Cleanwatts had a very close and careful collaboration with our employees, and their proposal did not require any investment from Santa Casa da Misericórdia, so I would clearly recommend Cleanwatts. It is not only an advantage for the institution, but for all members of the community.”

Arménio Gomes
Vice-Chairman of Santa Casa da Misericórdia of Miranda do Douro



After consulting with Cleanwatts, the Santa Casa had 239 PV panels installed on their buildings, delivering 73,3 kWp of capacity. This would firstly enable them to power their own facilities, while also creating the opportunity to provide energy to members of the local community at a significantly reduced price. Cleanwatts fully financed, installed, and managed the project, which launched in August 2021.

The PV panels supply electricity for the institution’s energy requirements, including air conditioning, computers, and other equipment, all managed through Cleanwatts™ OS. This operating system combines the benefits of energy efficiency processes alongside the management of distributed energy assets to maximize the value of the energy produced and consumed in the community.

The OS is supported by a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) solution that enables the aggregation of a wide range of power loads to enable grid balancing services and flexibility through integration into distribution networks. This simple and flexible solution processes and optimizes all energy needs in real time, both at the points of consumption and in the distribution network itself.

What is a Renewable Energy Community (REC)?
A renewable energy community brings together local residents and organizations to generate, share and consume clean energy together. Every member of the energy community benefits from lower electricity prices and greater energy independence, all while protecting the environment.


Since forming the REC in August 2021, the Santa Casa da Misericórdia has already seen significant benefits. If the energy produced through the PV panels during the first year was purchased on the OMIE market (valued around 0.35 Euro/kWh), the organization would have spent an additional 18.000 euros on its energy costs.

In addition, the REC also benefited over 100 local families who joined the community and shared excess energy produced. Community members are able to purchase clean energy which is around 30% cheaper than their normal bills. Finally, the initiative was able to reach 44% carbon neutrality, saving approximately 19 tons of CO2 in a single year.

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