Solar panels in new buildings are «winning solution that it's time to adopt»

ZERO believes that Portuguese energy policy must include citizens, safeguard environmental sustainability and cannot fail in the face of the climate emergency.

Creating “mandatory solar panels in new buildings” is the “winning solution that the time has come to adopt”, defended ZERO today.

According to a new report by the Oeko-Institut and the European Climate Action Network, of which ZERO is a part, the use of solar energy at the European Union (EU) level must be boosted as quickly as possible through the mandatory installation of solar panels in new and renovated buildings, to help lower the energy bills, increase energy security and help the Union meet its climate goals.

As the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is currently being revised, mandatory solar panels must be a key talking point for policy makers, with the aim of the measure being adopted by mid-2023. XNUMX

At the next October 25 meeting, the Energy Ministers will probably decide their general position on this directive, this at a time when there is a strong interest from citizens in the use of solar energy in their homes.

“As national governments are now committed to securing alternative sources of energy, they should seize the opportunity to engage citizens, communities and businesses in harnessing the great potential of solar energy in buildings in Europe, and to accelerate the demise of fossil fuels. expensive and dangerous. This is where an EU mandatory installation of solar energy in buildings provides the answer”, stresses ZERO.

The European Commission's proposal for the use of solar energy on EU roofs as part of the REPowerEU package was very well received in May, but in order to face the current energy price crisis and the climate emergency, mandatory solar energy in buildings "must be more ambitious and implemented as quickly as possible'.

The report by the Oeko-Institut and the European Climate Action Network recommends that a mandatory solar energy in EU buildings be adopted by the summer of 2023, applied to all new buildings and buildings undergoing major renovations. The requirement should still apply to existing buildings, whether private or public, from 2027, targeting the largest roofs first to maximize solar energy potential.

Some Member States have become pioneers in adopting this obligation, but the EU needs a harmonized approach. For example, the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg announced earlier this year that the installation of solar panels in residential buildings undergoing substantial roof renovation work will become mandatory on 1 January 2023.

This follows the requirement already introduced earlier this year for solar panels on all new non-residential buildings, open car parks and public pavilions.

Other EU countries, including Austria, Denmark, France, Greece and the Netherlands, have partially (and varying between countries) introduced solar energy requirements in their buildings, as have states and cities outside Europe – such as California and, more recently Tokyo.

Portugal in the first steps with the first Renewable Energy Community

In Portugal, these measures do not exist, but important steps began this year with the creation of the first Renewable Energy Community by Coopérnico, a Portuguese renewable energy cooperative, together with the Vila Boa do Bispo Parish Council.

The objective of this project is to promote the cooperative model of implementation and use of renewable energy in a given territory and thus serve as an example to other municipalities.

The decentralized production of electricity for self-consumption is an important step towards reducing the Portuguese people's expenses. Faced with the challenges faced by citizens in the energy market, it is becoming necessary to think of new paths. One of these paths is the production of electric energy for self-consumption, which takes place in a more democratic way and is independent of the large power plants.

Facing decentralized solar energy production, for example on roofs, the production of energy in large power plants is considered cheaper, but the difference is reduced or canceled out when the positive and negative externalities in each of the models are included in the equation - for example, destruction of habitats in the case of centralized solar or greater energy security in the case of decentralized solar.

ZERO believes that Portuguese energy policy must include citizens, safeguard environmental sustainability and cannot fail in the face of the climate emergency.

“There is a need for solar power on new roofs, but not only – there is also a need to quickly solarize existing roofs and therefore it is critical for co-legislators to introduce an EU-wide 'consent by silence policy' for those wishing to install energy on their roofs", concludes ZERO.