EU Rooftop Solar Standard alone could solar power 56 million homes

8 May 2024

  • Today, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive officially enters into force, with its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.


  • SolarPower Europe’s latest preliminary analysis indicates that the implementation of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directives could potentially power the equivalent of 56 million European homes with solar energy.


  • According to our analysis, the EU Rooftop Solar Standard within the EPBD could drive the installation of 150 to 200 GW of additional rooftop solar capacity in the EU between 2026 and 2030.


  • · Critically, the Solar Rooftop Standard will unlock the potential of large rooftops such as those installed on offices, commercial buildings, or car parks.


  • Public buildings like schools and hospitals will be particularly empowered by the EU Solar Rooftop Standard, which ensures they will benefit from solar-reduced energy expenses and dependence on fossil fuels.


BRUSSELS, Belgium (Wednesday 8th May 2024): Today, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive officially enters into force, with its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Successful implementation of the EU Rooftop Solar Standard under the EU Energy Performance Buildings Directive (EPBD) could solar power the equivalent of 56 million European homes.* 


A preliminary analysis conducted by SolarPower Europe suggests that the EPBD could drive the installation of 150 to 200 GW of rooftop solar in the next years, leveraging the potential of EU’s rooftops. This is assuming that 60% of public buildings are suitable and fall under the scope of the EU Solar Rooftop Standard. The EPBD will tap into the vast potential of rooftops, estimated at 560 GW by the EU Joint Research Centre earlier this year.**


Jan Osenberg, Senior Policy Advisor at SolarPower Europe (he/him) said: “Like the essential integration of smoke detections years ago, this new law propels rooftop solar toward becoming the standard. More buildings, businesses, and citizens will have access to clean, renewable, economical solar energy.”


The new law mandates that all new buildings be solar-ready, making it more straightforward and appealing to seek solar. According to Bloomberg NEF, proactive solar standards (as seen in some EU countries***) can boost return on investment by 8 to 11%, compared to retroactive installations. Additionally, the Solar Standard is set to empower a wider portion of society, easing obstacles to solar adoption in multi-apartment buildings. 


The EU Solar Rooftop Standard applies to new non-residential and public buildings from 2027, to existing non-residential buildings undergoing major renovations by 2028, to new residential buildings from 2030 and on all suitable existing public buildings by 2031. The Solar Rooftop Standard will most importantly unlock the potential of large rooftops such as those installed on offices, commercial buildings, or car parks. Certain buildings such as agricultural and historic structures may be excluded.


Osenberg continues: “Rooftop PV needs to be the gateway to smart electrification. Solar-powered heating and cars will reduce the costs of sustainable homes. Smart pairing of rooftop solar with EVs and heat pumps will also reduce the impact on the grid, and even provide direct support to the grid by providing flexibility services at times of grid stress. This will require removing the bottlenecks to electrification and ensuring grid operators can tap into this flexibility potential.”


Total rooftop solar capacity in Europe stood at more than 170 GW at the end of 2023 and is expected to grow to 355 GW by the end of 2027. In addition to the obligatory solar installations under the Solar Standard, the growth of rooftop solar on homes is also likely to increase, as citizens seek to shield themselves from fossil price volatility.


  Home Rooftops Commercial & Industrial Rooftops Utility scale solar
Total EU solar capacity end 2023      68.8 GW       104.8 GW       89.7 GW


Data from EU Market Outlook for SolarPower 2023-2027 (here)


Public authorities like local governments, and the buildings they manage – like hospitals and schools – will be particularly empowered by the Solar Standard, unlocking the potential to slash electricity bills while reducing reliance on fossil fuels. The Solar Standard acts as a local employment engine, with 2 to 7 times more workers employed in the solar industry compared to other primary renewable sectors according to IRENA.


The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive officially enters into force with its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. EU Member States now have 2 years to transpose the law into national legislation, defining details and exemptions.



*Based on an average assumption of 185 GW of additional capacity, we convert gigawatt capacity to households to help bring the unit to life. The conversion used is 1 GW = 1200 GWh per year and 4000 kWh = annual household electricity needs.

**There is limited data available on European building stock. Our modelling is based on most recently available data from RICS and the EU Building Stock Obversatory (BSO) in 2020. The BSO is subject to planned updates.

*** EU Countries with existing mandates including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany


  • Buildings stand as the largest energy consumers in Europe, accounting for approximately 40% of energy consumption within the EU and over a third of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in the EU (EU Commission). The widespread adoption of solar installations is expected to significantly reduce both energy consumption and emissions, leading to substantial cost savings for consumers and businesses alike. 


  • With 85% of EU buildings constructed prior to 2000, and a staggering 75% of them exhibiting poor energy performance, the revised EPBD, along with the Energy Efficiency Directive, are crucial to achieving a fully decarbonised building stock by 2050. (EU Commission)


  • EU electricity demand in 2023 was 2,697 TWh (Ember data, 2024) and the Joint Research Center of the European Commission estimated that the EU could install 580 GW of solar PV rooftop which could generate 680 TWh per year (JRC study, 2024) Therefore, rooftops could have covered 1/4th of all European electricity demand in 2023.


  • Based on the JRC study, SolarPower Europe estimates that current rooftop installations only cover 30% of EU’s potential, leaving 70% of rooftops capacity untapped


  • Solar PV is recognised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Sixth Assessment Report ( see IPCC 6th assessment here) as a key contributor to climate mitigation efforts and the cheapest option for combating climate change. Additionally, rooftop solar empowers citizens, reduces electricity bills, and requires no additional land use. (see IPCC figure here).
Questions? Get in touch.

Bethany Meban
Head of Press and Policy Communications

+32 492 97 82 48
Header image

© Shutterstock

Interested in becoming a member?

Have a look at the membership pages to find out all about your benefits

Why become a member?