S/Hola from Spain! (Part 2)
My first impression of Spain on this holiday was a huge amount of installed solar PV capacity, then, when we got to our villa, we found a huge homemade solar hot water system (above and right) at the bottom of the terraced garden. It turns out that this heats the private outdoor pool (we’re really slumming it).
Unfortunately, as you can see, the sun has bleached the dark blue collector pipes almost white, which will significantly curtail its effectiveness by reflecting more light and heat than it absorbs. Certainly the pool is a little on the cool side (26°C) with at least one oo-oo moment on the way in.
The domestic hot water is heated by another solar panel on the roof which we can’t see, but seems to be very effective. The villas below us all have professional systems installed, so I assume it is one of these. By default, the panel is the sole provider of hot water – if we want to heat it electrically, we physically have to plug the immersion heater into the wall.
Why all this solar power? Spain, like Israel, made solar hot water systems mandatory on new and refurbished domestic buildings in 2006 (commercial buildings must have PV as well). Our villa, and I would guess the big solar panel, would appear to predate this legislation, but there are also incentives like 0% VAT and low interest loans for equipment. Given the amount of sunshine you get here, it must make a lot of economic sense.
While I sip my beer on the veranda, in between shouting at the kids, I can watch two wind farms turn lazily in the distance. At night, kids in bed, slinging a couple of logs in the chiminea allows me and the old girl to enjoy the sea breeze until bedtime. Flight aside, this holiday is turning out a lot greener than I expected it to be.