Solar panels in the cemetery niches: the solution of cities like Malaga or Barcelona to produce more solar energy
Any corner can be useful to install a solar panel. Also the niches of the cemeteries. It is the curious place that different municipalities have chosen for the placement of photovoltaic panels. Some “solar graveyards” that allow to generate hundreds of thousands of kilowatt hours per year.
The idea of taking advantage of cemeteries arose in 2008, when the mayor of Santa Coloma de Gramanet (Barcelona) decided to install 752 square meters of solar panels in the municipal cemetery. An initiative that has been replicated in subsequent years by different cities, such as the Catalan capital itself or recently by Parcemasa in Malaga.
38 niches covered with solar panels in the Parque Cementerio de Málaga
Funded with funds from the European Union, the Malaga Cemetery Park has approved the installation of solar panels on the roofs of 38 of the 212 blocks of burial units in the San Gabriel cemetery. A installation with a power of 572,858 KW in which they intend to achieve energy savings of about 90,000 euros per year (data from 2020, when the project was approved).
The useful life of these panels is about 25 years and with the help of funds the investment is expected to be recovered in a period of less than two years.
The installation has been done taking into account not to damage the niches where they are located. Without affecting the right of the concessionaires of those niches or damaging the structure. As they are located in a higher area, they do not significantly affect the aesthetics of the niche or disturb the placement of offerings.
In addition to the solar panels, a home automation network with WiFi and video surveillance has been installed to protect the panels. This renewable energy will go to the electricity grid, but it is also intended to install a electric vehicle recharging point in the cemetery’s own parking lot. The project has the collaboration of Parcemasa and the University of Malaga.
Self-sufficient cemeteries in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the pioneer cities in Spain in taking advantage of cemeteries for the production of solar energy. In 2014, the City Council announced that the Les Corts cemetery would produce at least 74,500 kWh per year, after investing 310,000 euros.
It is not the only cemetery in the city with this equipment, since the Montjuïc cemetery added several years before, in 2011, solar panels on 8 blocks of niches near the crematorium of the cemetery. An initial solar park of 700 square meters with the promise of generating about 118,000 kilowatt hours annually.
A project that spreads more and more
Other cities of the Spanish geography have also been progressively taking advantage of the space of the cemeteries for the installation of solar panels. Some cemeteries that usually have enough direct light and being in municipal hands, can become places of reference for the different environmental initiatives of the municipalities.
In 2012, the Carlet City Council in Valencia took advantage of the roofs of six municipal buildings to install solar panels, from the sports hall to the music conservatory, but also the roof of the niches of the municipal cemetery.
Private companies such as Funespaña have also taken advantage of the niches they manage to install solar panels on them, in cemeteries such as Leganés in Madrid or Catarroja in Valencia.