With more European cities increasingly relying on solar energy to meet electricity demands, SolarPower Europe published a report titled ‘Solar Cities: 21 solar solutions for the city energy transition’ to showcase their efforts.
Urban areas account for approximately 80% of energy consumption in the European Union, making cities and public authorities crucial in addressing climate change, geopolitical challenges, and rising energy costs. However, cities still face obstacles when it comes to renewable energy solutions.
This report showcases the experiences of 33 cities, highlighting 21 technical and regulatory approaches that demonstrate how cities and solar power can mutually benefit each other. These innovative solutions not only serve as inspiration for other cities but also provide valuable guidance for the solar sector on strengthening collaboration with cities and local authorities.
The report shines the spotlight on various projects across Europe, from Norway in the north to Greece in the south to show how cities and municipal buildings can leverage solar PV to reach their climate goals and reduce their energy bills while preserving their architectural heritage.
For instance, in Portugal, Greenvolt has implemented the innovative ‘Inclusive Communities program.’ This initiative focuses on energy sharing and collaboration through a partnership with Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Cascais (SCMC), a social institution that operates a kindergarten. Greenvolt installed solar panels that generate electricity, covering over 50% of the kindergarten’s daytime energy consumption. Similarly, Brussels has an online solar map, a valuable resource to understand the solar rooftop potential of the region and empower citizens and local companies with the right solutions.
The report, launched at Brussels Urban Summit 2023, also focuses on ‘training solar installers,’ to combat the skills shortages. Marseille, France, is home to the first solar school in the country, that offers specialized training programs for individuals as young as 15 years old. This equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge for various solar-related professions, ranging from future electricians to photovoltaic (PV) installers.
Energy Cities, Eurocities, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and FEDARNE – the European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and Environment have supported the publication of the report.
Speaking about the publication of the report, Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, commented, “Cities are leading the charge for solar deployment. Together, solar and cities are an unstoppable force, in locking in the green transition. It’s time to get ready for solar cities!”
Claire Roumet, Strategic partnerships, EU Policy & Overall Coordination, Energy Cities, said, “The energy price crises pushed governments to reconsider their priorities, and act for citizens’ energy security. Solar power generation is a safe investment for municipalities: a massive energy production revolution is under way.”Claire Roumet, Strategic partnerships, EU Policy & Overall Coordination, Energy Cities, said: “The energy price crises pushed governments to reconsider their priorities, and act for citizens’ energy security. Solar power generation is a safe investment for municipalities: a massive energy production revolution is under way.”
André Sobczak, Secretary General of Eurocities said, “Cities are at the forefront of bringing solar energy to their people, leading its integration in urban planning decisions, supporting energy communities, and setting up energy renovation schemes. Accelerating the deployment of solar energy in our cities will help to achieve Europe’s climate neutral objectives and energy independence goals.”
Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director Europe, ICLEI, said, “Decentralised and smaller scale solar energy is a major catalyst for cities to achieve their decarbonisation targets, while enabling active energy citizens, and access to affordable energy. By embracing solar, and facilitating inclusive business models, cities can unlock investments, create jobs, and drive the transition to a clean energy future.”
Julije Domac, President of FEDARENE and Managing Director of REGEA (HR), commented, “All the local-scale projects in this report are inspiring examples, paving the path to broader deployment of solar power and renewable energy across Europe, and showing how much cities, regions, and energy agencies, are key stakeholders in ramping up the energy transition.”