The times they are a-changin'. The bucolic skylines of tiled roofs which define cities in Germany could soon be sporting a new look: solar.
If the Marburg City Council gets its way, Marburg will be the first city in Germany to legally require solar collectors on rooftops of private and commercial buildings. The goal of Fritz Kahle, the Green Mayor of Marburg:
No south-facing roof shall be left unused.Kahle further defines his goals for Marburg: "We don't want to save the World and we don't claim that Marburg will revolutionize climate action. But we must chart new territory in order to ensure a future supply of energy independent of oil and gas." The City Council has passed the law, which will not take effect until approval of the regional authorities in Giessen is granted.
The imaginary photo of Solar-Marburg shown above will not fully represent reality: historical buildings such as the Marburg Castle and the Elisabeth Church will be exempt from the requirement. Unfortunately, not setting a very good example, Marburg's City Hall is also granted an exemption.Marburg is a city of approx. 80,000 lying halfway between Frankfurt on the Main and Kasel in the German state of Hesse. The city has origins dating back to the first millenium, and gained notoriety when the Countess Elisabeth of Thueringen moved to Marburg to dedicate herself to the care of the sick after the death of her husband. In spite of her own premature death, at age 24, her legend persists and the Countess' castle as well as the Church built to the sainted lady's memory remain the two major historical attractions of Marburg. Among the more modern attractions of Marburg is the University, perhaps best known to an English audience for two students: the Brother Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Now Marburg enters the third millenium seeking renewed fame in a thoroughly modern manner.
The legal requirement for solar installations will be activated when more than 20% of roof area is renovated, when heating systems are replaced or when an addition is planned. The law requires at least 1 square meter of solar energy collector per 20 square meters of roof surface, foreseeing a minimum of 4 square meters of solar-thermal collector or 1 Kilowatt of photovoltaic panels (approx. 7 square meters). The city estimates a cost of 4000€ per single-family house, to be carried by the house owner, but does not intend to increase the standard 250€ subsidy currently existing to promote solar installations. The mayor points out the the German national authorities (BAFA) have subsidy programs.
Update: If you are interested in solar power, also check out 15 Photovoltaics Solar Power Innovations You Must See.