What Makes Berlin a City of Radical Solar Experimentation

Berlin. Its iridescent glamour and humble grit satisfy the senses like sweet and sour. A city of vibrancy, cutting-edge culture, and textured, tangible history. It’s like walking through a living, breathing, art piece, and I savour every moment.

Aside from its ferocious nightlife, Berlin is known as a city of radical experimentation. Start-up businesses flourish in the painted streets. With all its innovation and forward-thinking, it’s no surprise that Berlin is one of the first cities to make photovoltaic and thermal installations compulsory. Even more remarkable? New rooftop renovations will be required to fulfil the same requirement.

The German capital is securing its sustainable future.

Setting an example at home and overseas, Berlin aims to generate 25% of the city’s electricity through renewables by 2050. Of course, some exceptions will have to be made – like in the case of north-facing roofs where the sun doesn’t fall.

So, how will companies and individuals fulfil this extraordinary push towards a climate-neutral Berlin? The answer is (as it should be) through government aid. Berliners have been offered up to €15,300 to help solar power their properties.

Seeing a country passionate about renewable energy should ignite a fire in us all. Not only does Berlin have a clear and attainable plan, but they’re putting their money where their mouth is. Change is underway and Berlin isn’t hitting the break anytime soon.

The European leader in renewable energy

This summer a heatwave swept across the European landscape. Bringing wildfires, droughts, and countless bad tan lines. But while the rest of us basked in the relieving light of our freezer doors, Germany utilised thousands of PV panels, breaking energy generation records. The abundance of solar panels in Germany is unprecedented compared to the rest of Europe.

Currently, 10% of Germany’s electricity is generated by solar at a 59-gigawatt capacity. But it’s only the beginning. Planning on expanding to a 200-gigawatt capacity by 2030, Germany looks to continue setting records in the long, hot summers to come.

Germany’s solar success story can be attributed to rooftop PV panels, which make up a scorching 85% of its PV market. The key? Supporting individual, local producers. Supporting, in short, everyday people. Starting at this elementary level has allowed Germans to take energy into their own hands. Entrusting citizens, and providing necessary financial aid, forges a passion. One which, with the right nurturing, will pave the way to accomplishing Germany’s vision for 2030.

What’s Germany’s secret?

The secret to Germany’s success is its investment in individuals. Their goals are aggressive, transformative, and altogether achievable. They’ve managed to harbour a positive national attitude toward solar that supersedes the convenience of fossil fuels. Over half of their renewable energy is produced by small-scale operatives. Farmers are a great example of this, notably benefitting from the expansion of the solar market. By offsetting energy costs with solar, a new stream of income became available. German farmers have been able to sell land into solar farms, representing the financial, social, and environmental perks of renewable energy.

A slight Snag

Unfortunately, it can’t all be smooth sailing for Germany. Although the number of solar installations has soared a staggering 22% since the start of the year, the country has felt the same strain on energy prices as we have at home. Whilst the industry continues to boom, questions over what winter might look like if Russia continues to cut off supplies to the EU remain at the forefront of our minds.

One man has the power to turn the valve on our energy supply. And while the sun is owned by no one, reliance on Russian imports is still significant. Germany has been forced to fire up its coal plants to conserve its gas supply. For now, the priority at the top of all our lists is keeping the lights on as winter rolls around.

How much could you save?