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The European Parliament has decided on mandatory solar installations in Member States

In March 2024, legislation requiring EU Member States to install solar PV systems in new and renovated buildings moved a step closer to being implemented, with the approval of the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) voted 370 in favour, 199 against and 46 abstentions on the directive, which is currently awaiting approval by the Council of Ministers. This initiative aims to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector. All this provision is being done in the framework of the European Performance on Buildings Directive ("Directive"), which was provisionally agreed upon in December.

The legislation will require Member States to phase in the installation of solar panels on public and non-residential buildings where it is technically and economically feasible. Certain types of buildings, such as buildings of agricultural or historical interest, may be exempted from the obligation. The number of solar panels to be installed is set in relation to the size of the Member State. In addition, it also establishes a schedule for implementation, with new commercial and public buildings being required to install solar PV by 2026, renovated commercial and public buildings by 2027, new residential buildings by 2029 and existing public buildings by 2030.

The European Commission believes that this initiative could help the EU building industry to become climate neutral by 2050, given that buildings currently account for 40% of the EU's energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. It would also contribute to the sustainability of electricity consumption.

Several countries, such as France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany, already applied similar measures, which can provide practical examples for ministers and concerned Member States alike. According to a report by SolarPower Europe, the EU's solar capacity has shown a strong increase, with 56 GW of capacity installed in 2023, a total increase of 27% over a one-year period. The report predicts that this trend will only continue to increase year on year in the near future. Accordingly, it is estimated that 73.8 GW will be installed by 2025, 84.2 GW by 2026 and 93.1 GW by 2027.