Solar Cities and Regions: Helping to make citizens the master of their energy part 2

by Thérèse O Donoghue - 27 July 2023
With three quarters of the European population living in urban areas, the bulk of energy consumption is happening in cities' territory – around 80% in the European Union. The number of people living in cities is constantly growing, and so is city demand for sustainable electricity, transport, heating, and cooling.

Cities are at the frontline of the energy transition. Solar is one of the key solutions to support cities in reducing their energy-related emissions and providing access to cheap, reliable energy for all! Furthermore, cities offer lots of rooftops and building space for solar PV to be placed, vital to ensuring Europe meets its energy and climate ambitions.


Ultimately, solar can support cities, and cities can support solar.

In this blog series, we will highlight 21 solar solutions for cities in the energy transition, starting off with how solar can help drive city climate and energy security goals. Read solutions 1-3 and 4-6, before diving into solutions 7 and 8 below!

Photo: © Maesi64


Deploying solar power in cities goes beyond private rooftops. When it comes to providing access to solar power for citizens, municipalities and solar project developers offer several business models to adapt to the size, location, and characteristic of local communities. Each model provides flexibility for citizens’ involvement, both as producers and consumers of renewable energy. 


Citizens are willing to adopt solar PV solutions to lower their energy bills, and act for the climate. But they often lack information on their roof’s solar potential, or on technical and financial feasibility of solar projects. On top of it, while solar PV is the perfect candidate to reduce the energy bill and empower consumers, low-income households still face key difficulties in accessing solar solutions; they’re often renters, burdened by low credit ratings, or disenfranchised from information sources. 


But good news! There are different solar solutions to address these issues, from democratising solar power to reducing energy bills.

Solution 7: Democratising Solar Power

Cities have led solar projects that allow extended citizens’ participation.


The Municipality of Porto in Portugal promotes an energy community within its ‘Agra do Amial’ neighbourhood. The electricity generated from solar rooftops is mostly consumed within the community, and while the excess is sold to the grid. As a result, low-income households have received rebates on their energy bills.

Solution 8: Reducing Energy Bills

Solar can also help reduce energy bills.


As of Spring 2023, the Municipality of Larissa in Greece is in the process of creating an energy community (civil cooperative), in partnership with other local organisations, in order to produce energy from a 3 MW PV park on municipal land.


The aim of the energy community is to use the produced energy (around 546,642 kWh/y) to support vulnerable social groups – around 3,000 households – and to supply municipal buildings with renewable electricity. 

Download the full report here, and listen to our solar cities podcast here.


Stay tuned for more solar city solutions!

Header image: © Joe de Sousa