Posts Tagged ‘Madrid’

28 September

Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE) 2012 Director & Organizer


Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click onred linksbelow)

This video clip below is composed of two interviews taken place at Madrid, Spain (more specifically Villa Solar) on September 26, 2012, one with Director Javier Serra (from Ministerio de Formento or Ministry of Development), followed by one with Organizer of SDE 2012 Martin Gil Von Der Walde.

Between September 14-30, 2012, 18 teams from 11 countries (Germany, Brazil, China, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Portugal, and Romania) arrived in the Villa Solar at the Puerta del Angel site within Madrid’s Casa de Campo, to build 18 energy efficient houses.  For 15 days each house have undergone 10 contests with scoring.  The one consuming the least natural resources and producing the minimum waste in its lifetime would be the winner of the competition.

Solar Decathlon Europe originated from the American edition of the competition. The U.S. Department of Energy created the Solar Decathlon competition in 1999 and its first edition was held on the National Mall in Washington DC in 2002. The Polytechnic University of Madrid participated in the American editions in 2005 and 2007 and led to the agreement between governments of both countries on the launching of the first edition outside USA. The first edition of Solar Decathlon Europe was held in 2010 in Madrid with great success, with 200,000 people visiting the sustainable houses of the participating teams.This year, 2012, the second edition of the Solar Decathlon Europe 2012 is organized by the Ministry of Public Works, Madrid’s City Council and the Polytechnic University of Madrid, through its Higher Technical School of Architecture, and its principal sponsors are Schneider Electric and Kommerling.

Some of the special considerations that occurred in SDE 2012: reuse and conservation of all natural resources.  I applaud the Europeans for this consideration because this is even more critical in preservation of our planet.   Solar Decathlon Europe (SDE) 2012 offers a variety of activities related to sustainable energy, aiming to entertain and amuse children while helping them to realize the importance of caring for our environment and the advantage of house powered by solar energy.  One of the main novelties of this edition of SDE is the intelligent network or smart grid.  Solar Decathlon’s Micro Smart Grid connects and controls the whole electrical system from this micro grid, connecting the 18 houses in the Villa Solar, as well as organizational buildings, stands, marquees, services and even the electrical recharging points for electric vehicles at the Villa Solar.  The network, designed by Schneider Electric, could manage some 180,000 kWh in a year and effect a saving equivalent to 180 tons of CO2. In 2010 edition of SDE , participating houses produced three times as much energy as they consumed. Overall, they generated 6,177 kWh while they consumed 2,579kWh. The surplus energy was fed into the network for the benefit of people in the neighborhood. In 2012 edition of SDE, for the first time, any surplus energy generated can be fed into the city’s power network, enabling the city’s citizens to benefit from power generated by participating houses.

More posts to come covering Solar Decathlon Europe 2012….

Any of your comments/questions/concerns/suggestions are welcomed at
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~have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker


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27 September

Demonstration Against Austerity Measures In Madrid, Spain


Dear Friends & Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

(Please click on red links, below)

On the eve of September 26, 2012, around 7:30 P.M., I arrived in the center of Madrid, Spain (for coverage of Solar Decathlon Europe 2012), in  midst of an excited crowd, full of tense emotions and discontentment.  My tired body trudged through what seemed like sea of humanity, dragging my luggage,  after the taxi cab driver refused to continue on due to demonstrators gathered to protest against  Spanish government’s announcement of Austerity measures (confirmed by several other travelers from Sweden) just announced on Wednesday, September 26, 2012.  I immediately became more alert, noting good segment of the crowd with worried look on their faces, mostly in their 20’s-30’s and occasional above 40’s, some smoking cigarettes while  looking down on the ground, some conversing in high pitched intensity level, periodic chanting and singing came in waves, scent of beer here and there…I did not detect any sense of danger or violence, just apprehension and the oppressive melancholy. I suspect these demonstrators had not carried any malice;they were simply frustrated and tired,  and out of the sense of desperation and lack of hope, they were letting out their steam/scream the only way they knew how….later I’ve discovered that some other Youtube clips only showed the worst segment of the demonstration.  During the fours hours that I’ve observed the demonstration, both the demonstrators and the police of Madrid were not particularly violent. I observed some police cars actually going out of their way to avoid hurting demonstrators.  I believe the worst clips seen on Youtube probably occurred during the last half hour between 11:30 P.M.-midnight, when the police cars were trying to clear the street of demonstrators.  Below, demonstrators were seen in Plaza De Las Cortes, Madrid, Spain, on the eve of September 26, 2012:

Even though my intended coverage for this trip to Spain was only for Solar Decathlon Europe 2012, I felt an obligation to record this moment in history…et voila…my friends…after all, Austerity measures will also impact the renewable energy.  The desperate determination of the Spanish people fighting against the consequences of the economic crisis and tight austerity measures also had presented itself in another form.  Apparently one mayor, Angel Vadillo, of a small Spanish community (Albuquerque, a municipality with a population 5,500 in Extremadura in the west of Spain), has been on a hunger strike for two months in front of the Ministry of Industry in Madrid.  As it turned out, it was solar power that kicked off Vadillo’s unusual protest in the first place: in January, Spanish Industry Minister Jose Mauel Soria cut all subsidies for new projects relating to renewable energies.  Albuquerque had staked its future in solar energy for the past two decades;five new facilities with a capacity of 250 megawatts had been planned prior to the subsidy cuts. With these plans being shelved, “That means that we will lose some 850 jobs,” said Vadillo.  It was estimated that the measure will cost approximately 10,000 jobs across the country.  Vadillo hoped to force the minister to at least take a seat at the negotiating table.  He began his mission by walking the 600 kilometers (311 miles) from his constituency to Madrid.  After the Minister of Industry refused to receive him, he decided to camp outside the building.  When that too failed to get him any result, he stopped eating on June 11 , 2012.  But now, Mayor Vadillo has become visibly emaciated, though his resolve still intact.  “I drink eight liters of honey water every day…that keeps me sharp,” he said.  An ambulance stops by to check on his health daily.  Even though one of the medical personnel commented that it’s become critical, but Vadillo intends to keep going.  Mayor Vadillo had long become a symbol for Spanish people’s struggle against the consequences of the economic crisis and tight austerity measures.  Once he had made his hunger strike public, Minister of Industry Soria did consent to a single meeting with Mayor Vadillo.  “Our talk was more of a monologue. I explained my position and the minister didn’t say a word except that I should reconsider my position.” Vadillo said.  Mayor Vadillo admits that solar subsidies in Spain had long been on the generous side and he wants to be able to negotiate a feasible solution through discussion with Minister Soria.

What I believe as the valuable take-away lessons for solar/renewable energy from our September 26, 2012, post of the Scottish (UK) experience and the recent Spanish experience are:

  1. The cost of Solar Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program would be best not coming from the government subsidies but  from the rate payers (consumers) in a tiered fashion, such that those of lowest tier (lowest power consumption and/or income) would not need to pay for the added cost due to solar FIT.   Rest of the electricity consumers would bear a slight increase in their annual bills proportionally thus allowing electricity utilities to buy renewable energy generated from green sources at above-market rates set by the government.
  2. It would be advisable to start the Solar FIT low, close to the avoided cost level, so to be able to approach the situation carefully and cautiously, and  reassess the situation (optimal Feed-In rate) at specific intervals  to avoid budget/financial difficulties.
  3. It is important not only having the representative(s) from the consumers/people, from the government, but also from the power/utility companies present at the negotiation table for any discussion involving electricity/power use.  It is of benefit to all (people, government, and utility companies) that the optimal method and rate would be implemented because it will be beneficial for the utility companies to continue having consumers/people connected to the grid.  It is certainly true that the government is at its best when  its people are able to live with hope and harmony.  Willingness to listen on the side of the government would be instrumental in arriving at this goal.
  4. It seems feasible/optimal to introduce regulation to require solar thermal (solar hot water heating systems) when/where it is already a foregone conclusion that this would be an economically feasible approach in building design.  Perhaps it is time to start the discussion in considering implementing this as part of the building code.  DO NOT FORGET SOLAR THERMAL !!!  IT IS VERY FEASIBLE TO INSTALL SOLAR HOT WATER HEATING SYSTEMS EVEN BEFORE INSTALLING SOLAR PV !!!

~may we all be able to have a bright and sunny day~

gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,


Related Articles, below:

  1. Spain, Greece launch austerity plans to secure aid
  2. garrigues: current situation and possible regulatory austerity measures in the Spanish renewable energy industry
  3. feed-in-tariffs in the United Kingdom


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5 June

Solar Impulse Update ! World’s First Solar-Powered Intercontinental Flight Completed !


Dear Readers,

(Please click onred linksbelow)

If you are in favor of renewable,  clean, or solar energy, please sign this petition for FIT/CLEAN Program, accessible at Thank you very much.


Dear Friends & Readers,

Please refer to our posts on Swiss Solar Impulse/Solar Plane

Solar Impulse HB-SIA (wikimedia)


on March 12, 2011; July 14 (1), 2011; and July 14 (2), 2011.

Solar Impulse HB-SIA fuselage & engine

Solar Impulse HB-SIA showing wing

I am pleased to announce an update for our visioinaries Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg: on the late night of June 5, 2012, Solar Impulse successfully completed the world’s first Solar- Powered Intercontinental flight!  Bertrand and Andre piloted their Solar Impulse airplane from MadridSpain (Barajas airport) to Rabat, Morocco , crossing the Gibraltar Strait and the Mediterranean.  “This flight marks a new stage in the history of the project because we have reached another continent.  Furthermore, after almost 20 hours of flight, we landed with a full set of batteries.  This is extraordinary as it represents an increase in confidence in new technologies.” said Andre Borschberg.  This Solar Impulse flight is under the High Patronage of King Mohammed VI.  Following the successful flight, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) is hosting the Solar Impulse team over a week to raise awareness of solar energy’s potential.    Mr. Mustafa Bakkoury, MASEN’s President, said “We are delighted to host this world premiere in Morocco and are very pleased with the presence of overall Solar Impulse’s impressive team.  We are also very thankful to each partner that could make this possible.”  At this point, I’d like to share the clip of World’s First Solar-Powered Intercontinental Flight, below:

The team will then head over to Ouarzazate City where the first solar complex is being developed.  Morocco’s ambitious and expensive plan to draw 40% of its energy needs from the blazing sun by 2020, (with a thermo-solar power plant of capacity of 160 megawatts and  five solar energy plants to produce 2000 megawatts of electricity), reducing CO2 emission of 3.7 million tons, received a publicity boost this week as Solar Impulse completes its first intercontinental flight and lands in the Moroccan Capital, Rabat.  “We came here out of admiration for Morocco’s pioneering solar energy program,” Bertrand Piccard said.  “It was perhaps the most beautiful flight of my life.  I have dreamed since I was a child of flying without using fuel,” said Piccard,  the man who who co-piloted the first hot airballoon to circle the world non-stop in 1999.

Morocco is one of the few countries in the region almost completely dependent on imports for its energy needs and it had been hard hit by the soaring oil prices these past few years.  “We have to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,  most of which we import,” Mustafa Bakkouri added.  The Ouarzazate plant is expected to be operational by 2014, with plans to boost its capacity to 500 megawatts by 2015.  The ultimate goal is to draw 40% of Morocco’s energy needs from the sun by 2020 and a string of solar energy plants across North Africa that would eventually supply all the energy needs there, as well as 15% of Europe’s.

The success of this flight is not to offer an alternative to commercial airliners but to push the limit of what is possible with solar technology, be it in the form of intercontinental flight or in the form of independence from fossil fuel.  We wish continued success to both Swiss Solar Impulse and Moroccan MASEN’s energy plan.  We will also look forward to the World Flight (around the world) scheduled for Solar Impulse in 2014.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at

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