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Dead heat: This cemetery's otherworldly energy is solar

Maybe they're trying to bring the dead back to life.

A Spanish town alarmed about climate change has installed solar panels on its mausoleums, turning "a place of perpetual rest into one buzzing with renewable energy," the Associated Press reports with mirth.

The 462 panels are mounted on graves in the blue-collar town of Santa Coloma de Gramenet outside of Barcelona. The panels started absorbing energy from the sun to power the local grid last Wednesday, three years after the project began, according to the AP.

While this isn't the town's first green-energy project, or even the first time a Spanish cemetery has gone solar (Santa Coloma de Gramenet also has solar parks on the roofs of buildings, as do cemeteries elsewhere in Spain), it is believed to be the first time the panels have been put up over graves, the newswire says.

Santa Coloma de Gramenet took its unorthodox approach because its population of 124,000 people lives in a dense one-and-a-half square miles (3.9 square kilometers). There was little unused, flat and sunny land to install the panels, which will make enough energy to power 60 homes a year and eliminate 62 tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

"The best tribute we can pay to our ancestors, whatever your religion may be, is to generate clean energy for new generations," Esteve Serret, director of Conste-Live Energy, which runs the cemetery, told the AP.
 
Spain is the world's hottest solar market, with generous subsidies for manufacturers, plentiful sunshine and heavy demand from residents for energy-sucking air conditioning. Feed-in tariffs there guarantee 25 years of up to triple the market price for solar energy, and legislation would require all new buildings to include solar technology.

Image of solar panel by iStockphoto/Grafissimo

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