Monte Alegre Association, whose main objectives are environmental and social protection in rural areas, was appointed by the  self-consumers in Vale de Santiago to design and implement the Solar Self-Consumption Pilot Project. The pilot aims to provide solar energy to five users, namely three Residential Buildings and two Commercial Buildings. In addition, Monte Alegre Association will act as the project's investor, carrying out the entire investment at no cost to pilot members.

Figure 1: Map with pilot members in Vale de Santiago, Odemira.

To determine the appropriate pilot size, a thorough assessment of user bills was performed, including a member by member analysis of energy consumption (vazio and fora de vazio, if available), contracted power, and user type (i.e., commercial and residential building). Based on this assessment, the installed power for the pilot is 6.76 kW, for 14% of annual surplus, and the equivalent of 1.64 tons of CO2 not released into the atmosphere.

Figure 2: Surplus graph, self-consumption and total network consumption.

The final goal sought through the Solar Self-Consumption Pilot Project in Vale de Santiago is an Alentejo that is more energy independent, with a smaller carbon footprint and less dependent on economic shocks or future energy crises. Especially considering that the Alentejo is one of the European regions with the most hours of sunshine per year. Monte Alegre Association believes that the time has come to change the narrative in our region, and the pilot project in Vale de Santiago is the first step in that direction.