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Radical promotion of solar energy in Basle city: homeowners have to put solar panels on their roofs. And pay for it.

The canton of Basel-City wants to increase the use of solar energy. The Office of Environment and Energy has commissioned the Institute for Environmental Decisions of the Federal Institute of Technology to conduct a study which will serve as the new planning tool. The study is to clarify by the end of 2010 which roofs in Basle are best suited for the generation of solar energy.

Homeowners must put solar panels on the roofs of their houses if the roofs are considered particularly suitable for solar energy because of their orientation and inclination. They are obliged to do this as soon as there is a “significant modification or renovation” of their houses, says Thomas Fisch, the director of the Energy Office at the Office of Environment and Energy. The new regulation also applies to suitable rooftops of houses which are located in protected areas. Only houses that are connected to district heating are exempt.

With this measure Basle City becomes the first canton to make the construction of solar panels on roofs of existing buildings mandatory. The legal basis is the new energy regulation which requires that water in residential buildings, schools, restaurants, hospitals and similar buildings must heated by using at least fifty percent of renewable energy.

The homeowners will have to pay for construction of the solar panels but they will be subsidised by the cantonal authorities. In the past 15 years 1,250 thermal solar systems were installed on a voluntary basis in Basle City. The canton now wants to increase this number significantly with the new, compulsory measure.

Full story (in German)

Translated by Philipp Mueller