Solar thermal: Spanish regulations
The Barcelona Solar Thermal Ordinance was implemented in August 2000. It requires that at least 60% of hot water demand is met from solar thermal energy in all new buildings or buildings undergoing major renovation. The objective is for 100 000 m2 of solar thermal collector surface area to be installed by 2010 (EC, 2006a). It is a requirement that the best available solar thermal technology is used and compliance must be verified with measured data. Exemptions are considered where it is not possible to meet the entire 60% of hot water demand.
The Ordinance was originally only applicable to new and renovated buildings above a specific size category (greater than 292 MJ/day of hot water energy consumption). In early 2006 Barcelona approved an amended ordinance eliminating the minimum energy requirements and setting explicit
fines for violations ranging from €6 000 to €60 000. The revised ordinance also established improved maintenance and architectural integration requirements and required swimming pool heating to be 100% solar (REN21, 2006).
Monitoring and assessment has been carried out by the Barcelona Energy Agency (BEA) since 2003. In conjunction with its responsibilities, the BEA published a Guide to Solar Thermal Energy Facilities using simple language and graphics to explain the technical aspects of solar thermal as well as its benefits.
Seville and Pamplona in 2002, and Madrid in 2003, followed Barcelona’s example. Pamplona’s solar ordinance entered into force in mid-2004 and caused a 50% regional increase in solar thermal collectors in one year (REN21, 2006). Twenty municipalities in Catalonia have adopted similar regulations which has increased the installed surface area of solar thermal collectors in the region by 20 000 m2 in 2003 and by a further 25 000 m2 in 2004. In addition, 22 Catalan municipalities and the Catalan Institute of Energy (ICAEN) set up a Solar Ordinance Support Centre, to pool experience and technical solutions for the use of local authorities who chose to implement similar policies. As of 2006, more than 70 municipalities and cities in Spain including Valencia and Burgos adopted similar ordinances. These municipal solar obligations will remain in force as long as they are stronger than the new national obligation included in the Spanish Technical Building Code (REN21, 2006).
In March 2006 the government adopted a federal solar thermal ordinance or Technical Building Code (Codigo Tecnico de la Edificacion). It obliged owners of all new buildings and those undergoing renovation, to provide 30-70% of their domestic hot water demand by solar thermal energy. The code is applicable to all buildings, independent of their use. The specific percentage of heat requirement for a building depends on its geographic location and individual demand by the residents for hot water. This technical code was established under the Spanish Royal Decrees 314 and 315 of 17 March 2006 that also created a Council for Building Sustainability, Innovation and Quality (CSICE) responsible for ensuring compliance and participation (ESTIF, 2006b).