Barcelona installs solar pavements as part of carbon neutral bid

The Spanish city of Barcelona has installed the country’s first photovoltaic pavement, as the historic Catalan capital drives forward in its aim to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Currently located in a small park in the Glòries area of the city, the 50 sq metres of non-slip solar panels, will generate as much as 7,560kWh a year in what is being viewed as a positive step in the right direction for Spain to be self-sufficient.

This follows another recent scheme from Utrecht in the Netherland which installed a 25-metre stretch of solar cycle lane with the electricity generating power for lighting and heating the path in winter to prevent it from icing over.

In what is being viewed as the decade of action in addressing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) these efforts throughout Europe are being viewed as influential in tackling climate change successfully by 2030. By producing innovations which provide cost-effective methods and help lower the price of electricity to help citizens to become independent, achieving SDG 13 (Climate Action) could become a real possibility.

Barcelona has ramped up its efforts in recent times to deliver solutions that benefit the environment and the economy. The former conservative government had brought a halt to solar installation to save money, but under the new government, a solar boom has led to Spain being ranked 11th in the world for solar power and eight for renewables overall.

The city has contributed €30,000 (£26,000) towards the cost of the latest project, with the remainder being met by the manufacturer. The viability of the scheme will be assessed after six months.

Solar energy has long been viewed as a staple for providing environmentally friendly alternatives. As it is obtained from the sun’s radiation, it can be converted to electricity or heat. It is freely available and thanks to advancements in technology it can used much more prominently. It has the least environmental impact in comparison to other energy sources and can be deployed anywhere.

Although there is still plenty of work to be done to reduce the impact of climate change, Barcelona’s forward-thinking approach could pave the way for solar becoming the dominant source of energy in the future. It will take time for the world to see its true benefits, but if collaborative efforts are in place internationally to use it, it will only speed up the process and reduce the carbon footprint currently being left on the Earth, as well as help create the next steps for greater research and innovation in the field.