Switching their energy supply to renewables is central for municipalities to reach their carbon emissions goals. Being one of the most local green energy makes photovoltaic particularly easy to get city dwellers involved. Thus Dornbirn in Austria (50 000 inhabitants) and Burgas in Bulgaria (200 000 inhabitants) are taking two different but complementary paths to reach their goals.
In Dornbirn, to triple the sustainable energy production by 2030, the municipality has set up a project to install solar panels on numerous municipal buildings such as fire stations, schools, and kindergartens. The expected renewable energy output is estimated to generate enough electricity to power 260 homes and save 265 tons of CO2 per year. Officials issued 499 low-cost investment shares costing 500 euros each to finance the project. The city will then refund the shares for ten years in the form of vouchers for groceries. It did not take long to be a success as all shares were sold in just ten days.
Burgas’ method is a bit different. The city chose to support citizens’ initiatives to install photovoltaic systems on the roofs of their homes through the comprehensive SOLAR CITY project. The municipality is already mapping and evaluating the potential of each roof. The collected data will feed a future digital platform that would calculate the cost and number of photovoltaic panels that can be installed, along with the number of carbon emissions saved. The city also announced the opening of an energy office to further inform both citizens and professionals on the available funding schemes for such projects.