Budapest is a traveller’s dream. Brimming with life, the city feels more like home than any other European city I’ve visited. Split into two iconic halves, Buda spills across the rolling hills to the west of the Danube river – a sparkling oasis of dinner cruises and boat parties – Pest, draping across the other side. For tourists, the city is an architectural treasure trove. People flock from across the globe to experience the city’s cultural wonders. From the healing thermal waters to the unrivalled nightlife, this city has something for everyone. But what exactly is it doing for our planet?
On a domestic scale, Hungary’s capacity for solar energy in households has surged since 2012. This year, the units of solar panels installed on homes grew more in the first three months than in the first quarter of 2021. But, just like so many European cities, it’s the innovative use of solar that caught my eye.
Infinitely brilliant solar projects are popping up all across Europe. From huge-scale installations to florescent solar trees. And Budapest is no exception. After a little digging, I discovered a Hungarian company based in Budapest and the extraordinary way they’re installing the best pv solar panels. Paving the way for fresh thinking regarding where solar panels can be placed, they’ve installed the first solar cladding on a residential driveway. Proving that roofs aren’t the only place for panels and that the options for innovative installations are endless.
Made from 400 recycled plastic bottles, these panels are taking sustainability to the next level. They’re designed for driveways, paths, patios, and pavements. From a material claiming to be even more hardy than concrete. Can you believe that? Not only do these incredible tiles take the entire weight of a car, but they can also be used to charge an electric car.
Style and Sustainability
I’m reminded of Milan and its fascination with combining style and sustainability. These panels do exactly that. Sleek and stylish, the panel’s black look is designed to blend seamlessly into the ground, creating huge potential for installations in public spaces. To power street lamps, Christmas lights, even illuminate the city’s most iconic landmarks.
It’s important to note that these innovative solar installations are the result of creative thinking. And investment. It’s the people who put faith in a solar-powered future that make these projects possible. The Department of Transportation helped fund the company’s vision. Proving, once again, that we can achieve amazing things when we work together. Hungary’s dream to ‘Create a clean and autonomous energy future, which will make it possible to rethink urban life’ feels evermore reachable.
Lending a Helping Hand
Budapest is startlingly inexpensive. Considering what a hot spot it is for tourists, eating, drinking, and taking in the sights, won’t leave you out of pocket. Unless you have absolutely no self-control. In this case, I wouldn’t blame you. The food is amazing. But for locals, the situation is quite different. The Hungarian living wage is far lower than the UK’s. So, although a £2 pint might seem incredible to tourists, for locals, the prices are reflective.
Supporting families from lower incomes is crucial to spreading solar across the globe. The Hungarian government is working to make 90% of the country’s electricity carbon-neutral by the year 2030. To do so, homes are looking at the solar panel tender for support. This tender will help households with high pollution rates by replacing their heating systems. Upgrades will leave homes with updated renewable energy sources and full access to self-generated energy for a fraction of the price.
Despite everything both Budapest and Hungary are doing, there’s one element of solar that the country seems to be lacking. Wind. The capacity for wind in Hungary is huge. But for an undisclosed reason, it isn’t being utilised. Regulations mean that no new wind farms can be built. But imagine the potential, spread across the gorgeous Hungarian landscape. Perhaps the expansion of wind is something to look forward to.