MEDELLIN, Colombia – Interactuar, a Colombian non-profit organization that stimulates and supports the talent of small entrepreneurs, has taken a series of steps aimed at reducing its carbon footprint, including recently installing 240 solar panels at one of its buildings in this northwestern city.
Interactuar put up the solar roof as part of “Ciclo Siete 2019 – Ibero-American Sustainability Week,” which runs from March 30 to April 5 and seeks to generate awareness about environmental issues and encourage people and organizations to make a commitment to sustainable development.
“These panels will generate 30 percent of the energy we consume at that site. That will enable us to avoid emitting 35 tons of CO2 per year approximately,” Interactuar’s executive director, Fabio Andres Montoya, told EFE.
That reduction in CO2 emissions is equivalent to protecting around 177 trees, Montoya said, noting that the panels have an anticipated lifespan of 20 years.
The panels were developed by Hybrytec, a company based in the northwestern Colombian province of Antioquia that designs and installs solar energy systems.
Colombia’s national mining and energy planning unit (UPME) and the Mines and Energy Ministry estimate that by 2030 nearly 10 percent of all the energy consumed in the Andean nation will come from photovoltaic or other solar installations.
Montoya said the decision to install solar panels is part of a series of measures that includes reducing Interactuar’s use of paper, plastic bags and disposable containers and establishing a car-free day to be observed by its employees.
The non-profit organization also plans to encourage sustainable development practices among the micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises it assists, including the use of solar panels.
“There’s work to be done in terms of how we start bringing methodologies and knowledge to our entrepreneurs so they implement environmentally friendly measures,” Montoya said.
Colombia has outstanding solar potential relative to the rest of the world, with a high level of solar irradiation, according to a study by University of Bogota Jorge Tadeo Lozano.
Activities carried out during “Ciclo Siete 2019 – Ibero-American Sustainability Week,” an initiative founded and led by sustainability consulting company Portafolio Verde that spans 23 countries, have included tree planting, bird watching, mangrove swamp cleaning and sustainable mobility caravans, as well as conferences, forums and panels.