Reenergizing Cities with Solar Energy
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Municipal renewable energy initiatives are hardly a new concept. In many cases the main goal is a heightened environmental sensitivity, and often installing more renewable energy is just one component of broader policies that might also include eco-friendly transportation or more efficient waste management or a district heating system. In other examples, renewable energy has been identified as an engine for economic rejuvenation.
Urban solar initiatives meshed with economic development goals are taking off in numerous global locations. Last year the World Bank launched an "Eco2 Cities" Initiative to spur urban sustainability. Under the European Commission's POLIS research program, six European cities have developed guidelines for tapping urban solar potential on buildings. In Sweden, Stockholm's Hammarby Sjöstad district has implemented an integrated orchestra of renewable energy, energy efficiency, water and waste management and recycling for both electricity and district heating, and the city of Malmö is marching toward a broader goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2020, building out a "climate-smart" Hyllie city district and embracing solar energy in other locations. Dozens of Spanish municipalities from Barcelona to Madrid have passed municipal solar ordinances in recent years, largely for solar thermal/solar hot water. In Germany, the München Solar Initiative aims to help building owners, businesses and tenants, identify the possibilities of rooftop solar PV, from financing to installation.
What follows is the story of one large metropolitan area’s realization of the power that renewable energy development holds for urban renewal efforts.