Another Reason To Love the Germans

From our (sort-of) ongoing series on Europe’s green engineering initiative [via ecogeek]:

A lot has been going on recently in Germany when it comes to solar, from various companies investing heavily in photovoltaics, to the government’s shrinking solar subsidy. But this weekend the small town of Marburg passed a law that will require all new houses and those whose roofs or heating systems are being renovated to install 1 square meter of solar panels for every 20 square meters of roof, effective October 1.

The town, which has about 80,000 residents, has mostly supported the decision made by the Social Democrats and Greens, but the opposition leaders are crying, saying that to force people to build with solar panels equates to a “green dictatorship,” and that “nobody dares to say anything.” Considering Germany’s recent past, drawing such obvious parallels seems grossly inappropriate, especially for an initiative that will benefit both the environment and humanity.

The average panels needed to comply with the law would cost about 5,000€ per home, with a payback of 15 years. For those who choose to skirt the law, they can expect a 1,000€ fine, much less than the 15,000€ that was bandied about. This is not the first such initiative in Germany. Last year the government of Baden-Wurtemberg started requiring that all new houses built had to generate 20% of their heating through renewable energies, with regulations tightening in 2010. Similar plans are popping up in the US, including California’s 1 Million Roofs initiative. With such new technology, laws encouraging or regulating it are bound to be hit and miss with the public for awhile.

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One thought on “Another Reason To Love the Germans

  1. Jennifer Shon

    Since the fine is only 1,000€ do you think most people will opt not to do it considering the fine is 1/5 the cost to install?

    If they charged a fine of 1,000€ per year until the owner installs panels that would get people thinking about jumping on quicker!

    It is a great concept so like you said it just takes time to catch on.


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