Now more than ever, there is a strong public demand within EU countries to embrace a solar revolution. As national governments are now scrambling to secure alternative energy sources, it is the opportune moment for them to engage with citizens, communities and businesses and untap the large solar energy potential of buildings in order to accelerate the energy transition.
This is why a EU solar mandate for the mandatory installation of solar energy on buildings needs to be adopted and implemented as soon as possible. The cost- competitiveness and accessibility of solar energy makes it an invaluable solution to the current energy crisis and governments need to work to resolve any barriers for us to see solar energy being installed on rooftops and buildings across Europe and gas valves turned off.
In some European countries already, local authorities and governments have partly introduced solar mandates in response to the energy prices crisis and climate crisis. There are now communities and cities across Europe that are reaping the benefits of having solar installed in their buildings such as lower energy costs, a secure energy supply, a healthier local environment and more control over their own energy production and consumption. It is a winning solution that involves citizens and communities in the energy transition, can help Europe wean itself off Russian fossil gas and enhance its energy security, while also helping the EU to reach its Paris Agreement goals. Creating a safer, energy secure Europe.
Below are 5 key recommendations for a successful EU solar mandate
1. Start the solar mandate as soon as the entry into force of the Directive and address all new buildings (residential, non-residential, and public), and buildings undergoing fundamental roof renovation, and new parking lots.
2. Target the full suitable space of individual roofs to exploit potentials faster and more efficiently. The mandate should only involve roofs with an expected lifetime of at least 20 years, so that the roof outlasts a maximum payback time of the solar installation.
3. The obligation for existing buildings should follow the first phase and address all commercial buildings and public buildings with a staggered approach targeting bigger roofs first. This phased approach could enable an early start of the mandate while simultaneously the needed workforce could be trained and the necessary infrastructure for the material could be ramped up.
4. All new residential buildings should be addressed in the first phase by the entry into force of the Directive. Existing residential buildings that are not currently undergoing major renovation or attic roof renovation should not be obligated to install a solar system by the EU-wide mandate, but Member States are required to create the conditions to ensure that all building owners are incentivized to equip their roofs with a solar installation, with a special focus on low income and vulnerable households.
5. Several accompanying measures including putting in place strong regulatory frameworks for adequate payback times, ensuring skilled workers and sufficient materials, one stop shops, adequate support mechanisms, and financing are needed in Member States to enable a successful implementation of an EU-wide solar obligation.