Solar panels and LED technology: invest to save
The municipalities of the province of Tarragona, as practically no one has done, have not been spared from the disproportionate increase in energy bills. It varies in each case, but in all they are important increases that force the institutions to look for life to reduce spending. And even more so when elections are approaching, and the option of raising taxes on citizens – who are already having a bad enough time –, no matter how little, is not a good idea.
Some examples of these increases in the price of electricity are the case of El Vendrell, where a budget of 1 million euros has been reserved for the 2023 budget, compared to the 600,000 for this 2022; the 55% increase in spending of 4 million euros in 2019; the 970,000 euros that will be spent in Torredembarra compared to the annual expenditure of 560,000 before prices began to rise; or the 21% increase in La Ràpita, where they have gone from paying 29,500 euros to almost 36,000 for public lighting and equipment.
And to deal with this increase in prices, there are several measures and investments that are being carried out by the consistories.
In El Vendrell, for example, they have invested 800,000 euros in replacing the streetlights with new ones with LED technology, defending that "each streetlight reduces consumption by half". With the same objective, they have begun to replace gas boilers with heat pumps that generate more air conditioning in the five Escola Bressol buildings.
The Reus City Council, for its part, has launched the turning off, starting at 10 p.m., of the ornamental lighting of the municipal spaces and buildings and the ornamental fountains of the Plaza de las Ocas, the Sant Jordi Avenue, the Plaza del Canal and the roundabout on Avenida Tarragona – the bell tower of San Pere maintains its ornamental lighting due to its unique character. Likewise, since 2016, the city council has progressively renewed the municipal office lights for more efficient models to reduce electricity consumption and its economic cost. Mercury vapor lights have also been replaced by more efficient LED models in the city's public lighting. Along these lines, for years the installation of self-consumption projects in municipal buildings has been promoted, which, with the creation of Reus Energia, has seen a new boost with the expansion of its electricity production capacity.
In this sense, Valls, in addition to having already achieved that 57% of public lighting is LED technology, is working on a technical proposal to install around 3,000 solar panels on the roofs of municipal buildings, including the town hall building but also sports, educational or cultural facilities. The objective is that the buildings not only become 100% energy sustainable, but that they can even obtain a surplus of electricity for other uses. Torredembarra is also working to reduce spending, with LED lighting and proximity detectors, among others.