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Swiss Green Party launches vote to force home solar panel installation

Summary:
This week, Switzerland’s Green Party started collecting signatures to launch a referendum. The vote would ask voters whether to accept a plan to force those renovating or constructing a new building to install solar panels, reported RTS. Photo by MARIANNE RIXHON on Pexels.comThe Green Party says there are enough roofs in Switzerland to ween the country off imported fossil fuel and to avoid resorting to nuclear power. Currently, only 10% of roofs are being used for solar power production. Nadine Masshardt, head of the Swiss energy foundation, an organisation supported by the Green and Socialist Parties and an anti-nuclear group, thinks solar output could be increased five- to six-fold between now and 2035, while creating jobs. Not everyone is enthusiastic about the initiative. The

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This week, Switzerland’s Green Party started collecting signatures to launch a referendum. The vote would ask voters whether to accept a plan to force those renovating or constructing a new building to install solar panels, reported RTS.

Swiss Green Party launches vote to force home solar panel installation
Photo by MARIANNE RIXHON on Pexels.com

The Green Party says there are enough roofs in Switzerland to ween the country off imported fossil fuel and to avoid resorting to nuclear power. Currently, only 10% of roofs are being used for solar power production. Nadine Masshardt, head of the Swiss energy foundation, an organisation supported by the Green and Socialist Parties and an anti-nuclear group, thinks solar output could be increased five- to six-fold between now and 2035, while creating jobs.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the initiative. The Liberal Green Party, which typically gets behind policies aimed at clean energy, has distanced itself from the project. It points out that 80% of solar panels come from China, which would reduce the associated economic boost to the Swiss economy. Some in the party also think the green energy plan accepted over the weekend is enough to get on with, and decisions related to building permissions might be better left to cantonal governments.

There is also the question of sticks versus carrots. Forcing, rather than incentivising can lead to very different outcomes. Someone planning a renovation might decide not to proceed if they’re forced to add solar panels. Someone planning insulation upgrades or new windows might not be prepared, or able, to cover the additional cost of solar panels and might decide to do nothing. Solar panel installation is not integral to most renovation work. It can be done separately later at no incrementally extra cost.

Similar rules forcing home owners to invest in things they may not want to sink money into already exist in some cantons. In Vaud, anyone repairing more than half of the outside surface of a home of a certain age is forced to wrap the whole building in a layer of insulation. No allowance is made for the existing thermal efficiency of the building. And no trade-offs are considered, such as making sounder ecological investments in new windows and doors, eliminating thermal bridges or adding solar panels. It is a top-down approach to a complex issue.

More on this:
RTS article (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now

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