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Solar panels sit angled atop mausoleums in the northern Spanish city of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, harnessing the power of the sun to provide electricity to some of the city’s residents.
In March, 47 percent of Spain’s electricity came from renewable sources, ThinkProgress reported earlier this month.
The majority (22.5 percent) came from wind, according to the country’s grid operator. Wind turbines dot most of Spain’s open landscape and wind was the top source of electricity in 2013, the Guardian reported.
Spanish households do pay some of the highest prices for electricity in Europe. In the first half of 2013, the cost of electricity for homes in Spain ranked sixth in the European Union behind countries like Denmark, Germany and Cyprus, according to Eurostat.
The high prices are due to an electricity deficit that has ballooned over the years, El Pais reported. Subsidies to promote the use of renewables, the perpetuation of poor policies to keep rates low for consumers amid supply cost surges and the failure of the current government to enact reform to right the debt, all have contributed to its growth.
Outside of the expansive plains though, officials in cities across the country have had to get creative when it comes to finding places to house renewable energy equipment.
In 2008, Santa Coloma – on the outskirts of Barcelona – placed 462 solar panels on top of the grave niches in its main cemetery, after running out of alternative locations to house a solar farm in the crowded working-class city, Time reported.
The solar cemetery idea has crossed the Atlantic and in 2012, a cemetery in East Hanover, New Jersey installed solar panels to help power the cemetery itself, local media reported.
In Long Island, NY, a 2014 proposal to place solar panels on the 114-acre property of St. John’s Annex Cemetery in West Babylon, will soon enter the permit process with the Town of Babylon, Randy Van Yahres of the Catholic Cemeteries of Brooklyn and Queens said in an email to PBS NewsHour.
The panels would occupy unused, non-burial land and the electricity produced there would benefit Long Island communities.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional information about the cost of electricity in Spain.
Carey Reed assists in covering breaking and feature news for NewsHour Weekend's website. She also helps the NewsHour Weekend broadcast team in the production of the show. She is interested in the flourishing fields of data journalism and information visualization and recently graduated, with honors, from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
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