Solar Power Fuels Protests Among Spanish Youth

June 6, 2011
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What do you get when you mix angry youth, social networks and off-grid solar gadgets? One fired-up revolution.

It all started on May 15 in Madrid, Spain, where thousands of activists have gathered for weeks to protest corrupt government elections, soaring unemployment and worsening economic conditions. The highly-networked protests are somewhat inspired by those in Arab countries, but Spain has a unique weapon on its side: the Sun.

In Puerta del Sol, or plaza of the sun, an encampment of young people are linked up via solar-powered WiFi arranged by local neighbors and businesses.

They have at least a dozen laptops in the communication stand, sending breaking updates to the group’s Facebook page, which currently has over 170,000 likes. The team’s acampadasol (sol encampment) Twitter account has nearly 63,000 followers.

What are these warriors of the sun fighting for? In essence, a brighter future. Spain’s unemployment rate has reached a staggering 22 percent, with 44.6 percent of the jobless under age 25.

Spanish Youth Solar Protests

There is particular disillusionment with Spain’s politicians, whom the protestors believe have unfairly favored bankers and corporations over average people.

Most surprising is the fact that despite Spain’s position as a renewable energy leader, ranking in the top five solar index for utility-scale PV, over 2 million jobs have been destroyed due to budget cuts.

In fact, Spain was on target to boost renewable energy considerably, by incentivizing home solar, wind power, geothermal and other clean tech sectors, but now the fate of renewable policy remains unclear.

The Spanish youth are fighting for the chance to influence such progress in the future, to play a role in forging democracy from something that has come unhinged.

The issues are many and the workload is steep, but we’ll do our part to spread the word for those in Spain. Here’s to a future we all can help shape.

Photos via FliptheMedia

About the author: Brittany Mauriss is an editor and bleeding-heart solar enthusiast at GreenMarketing.TV, the green entrepreneur’s source for start-up ideas and insightful interviews with the industry’s top thinkers. She also blogs over at EntrepreneursforaChange.com.

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2 Responses to “ Solar Power Fuels Protests Among Spanish Youth ”

  1. Thomas - Electric Car on June 18, 2011 at 6:02 am

    Spain is an important part of the future energy supply in europe. The idea of a european wide network where the countries use their natural sources (e.g. spain, italy etc. –> solar scandinavian countries –> water the coastlines –> wind) which improve the stability and reduce the impact of fluctuations is a great vision for a green energy supply of the future.
    Therefore ii´s a pity that the policy in spain doesn´t show any clear direction!

  2. [...] Solar power has never been more affordable. The materials costs for solar rooftop installations have fallen [...]

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