Spain's Technical Construction Code Commits the Country's Developers to Solar Cell Insulation

Each year the sun produces four thousand times more energy on Earth than we consume. It's a clean, inexhaustible and free resource. Moreover, it's guaranteed for the next 6,000 million years as scientists estimate that it has yet to reach its midlife.

Jesus Lopez, the Director of Urbanism for Polaris World, developer of 7 luxury, residential golf developments in the Murcia region of Spain says: "The Sun is like a thermonuclear reactor that emits energy in the form of light and heat. It would be irrational not to try and take advantage of this source through all possible means."

Uses of solar power are numerous: hot water for domestic and industrial use, heating, pool acclimatisation, solar-powered kitchens and so on. On the increase in Spain is the development of solar orchards; groups of solar cells in a single plot for the use of a group of individuals or businesses. This way, the cost of installation, infrastructure, security and maintenance are considerably reduced.

Solar power could also be one of the best solutions for energy problems in rural areas. No matter how isolated form the main electricity network, solar panels allow energy to be generated anywhere.

The one great inconvenience of solar power is the cost of installation. The key to cutting costs is to broaden the use of the energy generated beyond any individual's consumption, and this is one of the Technical Construction Code's main aims. From 2007, the code requires the installation of thermal collectors for domestic hot water and solar cells for heating purposes in properties exceeding 3,000 square metres of built space.

These measures also provide a new challenge for architects to integrate the solar facilities into the building design. "It's something we architects have to study and, surely, will bring about new solutions to create new aesthetics", asserts Jesus Lopez.

Despite Spain's position at the top of the European sunlight table, the development of solar energy in the country is at the moment very limited. At 8.7 square metres, the ratio of solar panel area to 1,000 inhabitants is well below the European average of 19.7 square metres.

Polaris World though has become one of the main promoters of solar power development in the Murcia region, where its 7 residential golf resorts are under construction and it is also developing commercial and housing projects in the city itself. Presently, Polaris World offers its clients the possibility of installing solar panels for hot water or solar cells for energy production.

Facing the future, Lopez announces that his company are working on ambitious project to implement solar power fields with solar cells to obtain electrical energy. "The facilities will be large and position us ahead in the field of renewable energies" he proclaims.

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