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Residential buildings are some of the main energy consumers due to all the electrical appliances people have installed at home. We now have the opportunity to turn our homes into small clean-energy generation plants that help to offset the energy we consume.

This is already possible, not only because of Barcelona’s excellent climatic conditions, a city with many hours of sunlight, but also because renewable-energy technologies are more efficient and accessible to city residents than ever before.

Barcelona has an enormous energy potential. That is why the City Council is promoting the exploitation of housing roof terraces as one of the city’s main local resources.

Sunlight, a source of electricity

Photovoltaic solar energy is the electricity obtained from sunlight. The sun’s rays hit solar panels made up of a collection of small silicon cells designed to capture solar radiation and turn it into electricity.

The photovoltaic solar energy that is generated on Barcelona’s roof terraces can either enter the electricity grid or be used for self-consumption instantly to lower the conventional network's energy consumption.

The main components of a photovoltaic energy system are:

  • Panels: These are made up of photovoltaic cells which capture solar radiation and turn it into direct-current electricity.
  • Inverter: This is the device that transforms the direct current (of 12, 24 or 48 V) generated by the photovoltaic installation into the alternating current (220 or 230 V) used by conventional electricity grids and the most commonly used electrical appliances.

 

Other renewable-energy systems for homes

Solar thermal energy. This is the energy that is directly obtained when harnessing the heat of the sun’s rays for heating up another fluid. It is based on solar collectors or panels that are struck by the sun’s rays, and the heat collected is used for producing sanitary hot water.

Small wind turbines. These harness the kinetic energy of the wind and turn it into electricity or mechanical energy. Energy is generated from aerogenerators moved by the wind.