TORREBLANCA ILUMINA - Energy and educational community in a vulnerable area

TORREBLANCA ILUMINA - Energy and educational community in a vulnerable area

National project

The objective of the project is that anyone has access, without discrimination for people without resources, thus allowing people affected by energy poverty to have access to renewable energy and save on electricity bills. At the same time, energy culture is promoted by integrating an educational and learning dimension in energy matters. 

The community is located in Torreblanca (Seville) which is home to more than 18,000 residents. It is the fourth poorest neighborhood in Spain and has been classified by the Regional Government as a Disadvantaged Area in its Regional Strategy for Cohesion and Social Inclusion of Andalusia.

In 2019, a group of volunteers from the Som Energía in Sevilla launched the initiative to promote energy and educational community in Torreblanca. In 2020 they won the Social Germinator award and received a donation of 422 PV panels through the Filosolar Association. From this driving group, and with the incorporation of new social agents from Torreblanca and from the educational communities of public schools, the association "Torreblanca Ilumina" (“Torreblanca Lights up”) was created. During that same year and the following year, educational activities began in public schools around the topic “energy communities”.

Given the many difficulties and barriers encountered along the way: financing, difficult area involvement in a neighborhood with high levels of vulnerability, mistrust and ignorance of energy aspects, Spanish initiatives of this type that could serve as a reference didn´t exist, the effort and involvement of volunteering is limited, complexity in public-private collaboration as they are new initiatives, legal doubts about how to set up and develop an energy community. In 2022, this group requests support from the Andalusian Energy Agency (AEA) within the framework of the POWERTY project (Renewable energies for vulnerable groups).

POWERTY offers a pilot consisting of the execution of holistic assistance (legal, social and technical) and part of the necessary equipment to carry out a pilot collective PV installation of about 15 kWp on the roof of public schools to share most of the energy generated with families in a situation of energy poverty in Torreblanca. During the accompaniment of legal assistance, the most appropriate legal figure for this community is analyzed, the procedure for the transfer of roofs of public schools by the Seville City Council and an agreement is signed between the AEA and Torreblanca Ilumina. With social assistance, a process of social dynamization is carried out that includes dynamic and participatory workshops with people of the neighborhood and an energy community office located in Social Services to advise in a more personalized way. In addition, criteria are defined for the detection of families in a situation of vulnerability to be part of the POWERTY pilot and the most optimal dissemination channels to continue this process in the next phases of expansion of the collective PV installation. Finally, a video and methodology of the entire process carried out are produced to "enlighten" other groups to replicate this experience.

The association selects unemployed people from the neighborhood for their labor insertion for the execution and maintenance of the installation.

Some concrete Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) include:

  • 1 methodology that describes the process carried out in this pilot.
  • 1 explanatory video that describes the process carried out in this pilot.
  • 1 legal analysis adapted to the Torreblanca Ilumina energy community.
  • 5 workshops held in a month and a half.
  • 1 energy community office in operation for a month and a half.
  • More than 50 people served by social assistance in a month and a half.
  • 1 collective photovoltaic installation of 15 kWp.
  • 10 families in a situation of energy poverty that receive energy from the collective photovoltaic installation.
  • Recruitment of 1 unemployed person from the neighborhood for their labor insertion for the execution and maintenance of the installation (in process)
  • Various educational activities related to the collective photovoltaic installation in the public schools.

The project started in 2019 and is still ongoing. 

Main beneficiaries: children, the elderly, disabled, energy-poor and low-income parts of the population.

The partners of the project are: Torreblanca Ilumina Association and Andalusian Energy Agency (AEA). 

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