13 Feb, 2023 @ 15:00
2 mins read

The sun finally won: How a innovative bid for sustainability got round the draconian rules in the historic quarter of Ronda… and made a great saving

Ronda Solar (3)

WHEN the owner of Ronda Romantica, an Aparthotel in the historic town of Ronda, decided to become more sustainable and save money with solar panels she approached leading solar installation company, Mariposa Energía.

The first step of the project was to analyse the typical energy consumption to determine how much electricity the solar installation needed to produce. 

The next step was to undertake a survey, looking at the available space and the shape of the roof to establish the optimum position for the panels.

A team of expert engineers then created an initial design, geared around the fact that the 18th century property was in a protected zone in the ‘casco historico’ and was therefore a listed building.

Ronda Solar (6)
Ronda Romantica

This meant there were restrictions on what could be done to the exterior of the building, and in particular the part of the roof that would catch the highest level of sunlight during the day was rejected by the town hall as the panels would be visible from the street.

It meant a rethink and the team had to work innovatively to create a design that would meet the needs of the owners, while also complying with the strict local restrictions.

Following discussions with the ayuntamiento and the submission of reams of paperwork the green light was finally given to go ahead. 

Ronda Solar (3)
Panels in situ

From there the installation moved fast and all works were completed in under two days.

“We are fortunate to have some of the best engineers and installers and so we are always able to come up with bespoke solutions that mitigate challenges, whether that be the type or size of roof or local restrictions,” explained Mariposa CEO, Martin Tye.

Providing a complete turnkey solution for the five-apartment accommodation, Mariposa handled the legalisation of the installation, the application of a grant from the Junta that could be up to 25% of the cost, and arranged for any surplus energy produced to be sold back to the National Grid.

Ronda Romantica now has a complete solar energy solution which, in January alone, saved the owner €185. And with energy consumption much higher during the spring and summer, those savings are only set to rise.

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The control panel for the system

“It is not just a great return on investment, but having solar panels means we can be more sustainable,” explained owner Gabriella Chidgey. “We wanted to put them in when we opened a couple of years ago, but it was difficult to get the licence and we knew we needed to save up a little before we could afford them.”

Great gizmo

An excellent add on is that all Mariposa’s installations come with an app, allowing clients to see, in real-time, exactly how much electricity is being produced and how much is being consumed.

Ronda Solar (1)
You can keep track of energy consumption

During the month of January, Gabriella could see that 530kW was produced by the 22-panel installation and 342kW were consumed, allowing the remainder to be sold back to the grid.

Green boost

What’s more, the solar panels are saving a staggering four tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each year. 

Over the lifetime of the panels it will amount to an impressive 120 tonnes, a very positive step in the fight against climate change.

“With the planet’s average temperature on the rise, climate change is a problem that cannot be ignored,” explained Tye, who launched Mariposa three years ago, from its headquarters in Marbella. 

Ronda Solar (4)
Energy savings are substantial and the property is still cosy

“We’re already seeing the effects of climate change with a rise in freak weather conditions and weather-related disasters and that situation is only set to get worse.

“One of the main contributing factors to climate change is the carbon emissions released into the atmosphere by the production of traditional fossil fuels and so by moving to solar energy we can dramatically cut those carbon emissions and make a real positive difference to the future of our planet.”

Concluded Gabriella: “We have noticed more and more travellers and guests taking an interest in the environment, so we are careful about the products we use and leave out for them.

“Having this installation will be another positive way to satisfy them.”

For more information visit www.mariposaenergia.es 

And www.alcantarilla.co.uk

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