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Hungarian Village that Became a Pioneer for Renewable Energy

A small village in Hungary is powering its way to a greener future by using renewable energy, and hopes to become the country’s first energy-independent community soon.

Újszilvás is a small Hungarian village with a global focus, as it hopes to serve as a model for what energy-independent communities could be like.

The energy crisis has not spared the wallets of the village’s residents, but they say renewables are easing the pain.

Located two hours south of Budapest, the village of only 2,800 inhabitants has been betting on renewable energy sources for over a decade. According to the mayor, the investments are paying off.

“I am really proud of this swimming pool because there are not so many villages that can afford this luxury,” says Petranyi Csaba.

Not too long ago, the Újszilvás swimming pool complex seemed like a dream, so the mayor and his team devised a scheme to finance the project by selling the energy generated from the village’s solar farm.

The village opened one of Hungary’s most modern swimming pool complexes two years ago. It features two swimming pools that are heated with renewable energy sources. One of the pools is 29 meters long, and the second one is 12 meters.

“This swimming pool has its own water well from which we continuously pump water that is naturally heated at about 30 degrees Celsius,” says Csaba. “The geothermal technology keeps the pools warm.”

Solar panels installed on the perimeter of the building provide most of its energy needs. Green energy sources also partially financed this swimming pool complex.

Solar farm

Back in 2010, with European Union and Hungarian funds, as well as a bank loan, the village built the country’s largest solar farm at the time. The energy it produced was sold back to the grid. The money it received was reinvested to partially finance the $2.5 million swimming pool complex.

The mayor hopes that soon the village will be able to use the energy produced by the solar farm to power all municipal buildings and the street-lighting system. He says once the bank loan the village took out to finance the swimming pool complex is paid, Újszilvás will not have to sell the energy it generates.

The solar farm produces sufficient energy to power all municipal buildings and streetlights.

“My dream for my village is that it becomes an energy-independent community, a place where we generate and cover all our power needs; that is my goal. I believe it’s a reachable goal in the near future,” says Csaba.

Attracting families

Every year, the village saves about $55,000 in energy costs. That money gets reinvested in the community, funding social programs and other projects that are designed to raise the quality of life.

And that is attracting families to move here.

“Since my family and I moved here, other people have moved into the village,” said Robert Bergrendi, who moved from Budapest to Újszilvás a few years ago. “The swimming pool and the renewable energy projects brought us here.”

Renewable investment has also increased real estate values in the village. It provides residents with a brighter future at a time when energy costs and soaring inflation have dimmed the hopes of many Hungarians.

Source : CGTN