The coalition that controls bBerlin Decided to oblige those who build new buildings, or carry out comprehensive renovations on the roofs of existing buildings, to install solar panels That will connect to the municipal electricity grid and help increase the share of renewable energy in the municipal electricity grid. The coalition, led by the Social Democrats along with the Greens and the Left Party, simultaneously decided to “nationalize” the city’s electricity grid from the Vattenfall corporation by acquiring a € 2.1 billion purchase to promote the transition to renewable energy.
The law passed by the Berlin Senate regarding solar power generation systems last week will apply to residential or business buildings, as long as their roof is larger than 50 square meters. Solar systems must cover at least 30% of the roof area. Buildings with more than two apartments (the vast majority of buildings In Berlin) or commercial buildings will provide a minimum of six kilowatts, under the new law, only deviations like shade from other buildings, values of historic preservation or technical inability will allow new building owners to be exempt from the law.They will also be able to lease solar systems.
In order to prevent homeowners from “rolling over” the cost to tenants, in cases where the building undergoes extensive renovation, it has been stipulated that tenants will have to share the cost of installing the systems only if they enjoy electricity at discounted rates as a result of using the solar system. The fine for not installing such a system will start at 10,000 euros according to the media in the German capital, who reported the law. Homeowners ‘organizations and contractors’ representatives vehemently opposed the new law.
Will the initiative change if the government changes?
The decision of the coalition leading Berlin, ahead of the upcoming September elections, stems from the desire to increase reliance on renewable energies, and its perception of tackling greenhouse gas reduction as one of the top priorities. It is possible that the coalition that will be formed after the election, if there is a change of government or even another composition of parties, will change the initiative.
The decision symbolizes a “renaissance” in the field of photovoltaics in Germany, which was one of the pioneers in government funding to promote the deployment of solar panels across the country. More than a decade ago, the German government pledged to pay a high tariff for electricity generated from solar panels, leading to a “boom” in the field in which many private homeowners installed the systems on the roofs of houses. She then suspended funding for the program, but now – partly due to new technology in the field – she aims to return and focus on this field, alongside wind energy and more.
In another step, the municipality announced that it would pay more than two billion euros for Berlin’s electricity infrastructure to the Wattenfall company, but would retain all the company’s employees and their terms, in order to “better control the city’s energetic future”. The municipality has taken a similar step in the past in repurchasing water infrastructure, after moving to private companies. “All areas of infrastructure should be in government hands,” a representative of the left-wing Di Linke party said after the announcement of the move.