EU takes action on solar roofs of buildings

The new directive will require new buildings to be solar-ready, and existing public and non-residential buildings will be gradually equipped with photovoltaic panels from 2027.

The European Union has adopted a directive to improve the energy performance of buildings and to support the decarbonisation of this sector across Europe. On 7 December, the European Commission announced that it had reached a political agreement with the European Parliament and the Council to set energy efficiency targets and support photovoltaic solar production, in particular by preparing buildings to put solar panels on their roofs.

Member States will have to ensure that new buildings are solar ready, meaning they must be equipped to accommodate photovoltaic or solar thermal installations on the roofs.

“In addition to strengthening the use of solar energy in all segments of buildings, the measures will strengthen the effective integration of photovoltaic installations into building construction processes. For example, roof structures will soon always be combined with solar installations, which will reduce costs and allow us to use the existing limited workforce as efficiently as possible,” enthuses Jan Osenberg, Policy Advisor at SolarPower Europe.

Specifically, all EU countries will have to ensure the deployment of solar systems on new public and commercial buildings by 2026, by 2029 on all new residential buildings and by 2027 on non-residential buildings undergoing suitable renovation.

By 2030, all existing public buildings must also be gradually equipped with solar panels. “For existing public and non-residential buildings, solar energy must be gradually installed from 2027, when it is technically, economically and functionally feasible, the Commission specifies in a press release. These provisions will come into effect at different times depending on the type and size of the building. »

In order to fight energy poverty and reduce energy bills, financial measures must encourage and support renovations and target in particular vulnerable customers and the least efficient buildings where a higher proportion of energy poor households live.

“The implementation of the directive must now guarantee effective integration into construction practices and requirements and facilitate access to private financing solutions to support especially innovative solutions such as solar energy on building facades,” concludes Jan Osenberg.

As a reminder, buildings account for approximately 40% of EU energy consumption and more than half of EU gas consumption, mainly through heating, cooling and domestic water heating. With 35% of buildings in the EU over 50 years old and almost 75% of the building stock energy inefficient, the need for energy renovation is very strong, even though the average annual rate today is only about 1%…

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