An open letter sent to the Heads of State in Central Eastern Europe from civil society organisations in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, calling for measures to promote the higher uptake of rooftop solar PV which will in the process, help empower local communities and citizens.

Dear President / Prime Ministers,

As the European Commission unveiled the EU Solar Energy Strategy as part of European Commission’s Communication on REPowerEU plan – outlining a set of actions to reduce EU’s dependency on Russian fossil fuels and to accelerate the energy transition – we as civil society organisations are calling on you to be a champion of solar energy. You should fully utilise the potential of rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) while empowering citizens and communities in our countries to actively participate in the much urgent energy transition towards a secure, just, efficient and fully renewable energy system.

We are at a historic moment as the humanitarian, social and climate emergencies unravel. We are experiencing a paradigm shift on the scale of needed energy transition after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Ambitious energy savings (based on efficiency first principle and through sufficiency measures) and an accelerated roll-out of sustainable local renewable energy with people, communities, and biodiversity at the heart would not only move us away from war fueling fossil fuels, but also bring us back on track to the Paris Agreement, increase energy security and independence, while cutting consumers’ bills and helping to alleviate energy poverty.

A decentralised energy system in which people are empowered as self-consumers (individually or as a part of a group, or community) is an essential part of building a resilient, just, and independent energy system. In a decentralised energy system, rooftop solar PVs have enormous potential. They can be installed quickly, enabling households’ to shift from being mere consumers of energy to “self-generators” putting the control of electricity production back in their hands and making them active participants in the just renewable energy transition. The cost-competitiveness and accessibility of rooftop solar PV makes it an invaluable solution to the current fossil fuel crisis. However, barriers related to administrative processes, political and economic frameworks are still blocking the uptake of rooftop solar PVs as a new report shows.

We are thus calling on you to swiftly implement the necessary measures (See Annex), to enable an unprecedented uptake of rooftop solar PV, which will be the first major steps in the solar rooftop revolution. This will enable citizens and communities to fully engage in the just energy transition, as solar PV is installed on rooftops across our region and gas valves are turned off.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Radostina Slavkova, Za Zemiata – Friends of the Earth Bulgaria

Svetoslav Stoykov, Institute for Circular Economy, Bulgaria & CEE Bankwatch Network

Barbora Urbanová, Centre for Transport and Energy, Czechia

Anna Kárníková, Hnutí DUHA – Friends of the Earth Czech Republic

Miriam Macurova, Greenpeace Czech Republic

Akos Eger, MTVSZ / NSC-FoE Hungary

András Lukács, Clean Air Action Group, Hungary

Csaba Lajtmann, Hungarian Climate Alliance

Ernő Kiss MNNSZ Hungarian Solar Energy Association

Martina Méhes, Energiaklub Climate Policy Institute

Mirosław Proppé, WWF Polska / WWF Poland

Wojciech Szymalski, Institute for Sustainable Development, Poland

Jolanta Zientek-Varga, Społeczny Instytut Ekologiczny / Social Ecological Institute, Poland

Tomasz Waśniewski, Fundacja “Rozwój Tak – Odkrywki Nie” / Foundation “Development YES – Open-Pit Mines NO”, Poland

Stan Zdzisław Nitak, Fundacja GAP Polska / GAP Poland

Dariusz Szwed, Zielony Instytut / Green Institute, Poland

Patryk Białas, Stowarzyszenie BOMIASTO, Poland

Maciej Wereszczyński, The Alliance of Associations Polish Green Network, Poland

Piotr Antoniewicz, Akcja Demokracja, Poland

Raul Cazan, 2Celsius, Romania

Marian Mândru, Greenpeace Romania

Kateřina Chajdiaková, Slovak Climate Initiative

Katarína Juríková, Greenpeace – Slovakia

Dana Mareková, Climate Coalition Slovakia