Baden-Württemberg’s Climate Protection Act: making photovoltaic panels compulsory from 2022

Reading time: 4 minutes
15 October 2020

Baden-Württemberg is Germany’s third largest state with a population of 11.1 million and a GDP of €524 billion. 

As co-founder of the Under2 Coalition, Baden-Württemberg is a champion of climate change policy and action. One of the region’s most promising climate actions is the development of its Climate Protection Act, which now includes a mandate to make photovoltaic panels compulsory on all new non-residential buildings and large carparks from 2022. 

The Climate Protection Act

The Climate Protection Act was first initiated in 2013 to mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure that the state reduced CO2 emissions by at least 25% by 2020 and 90% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels). The Act was one of the first in Europe to acknowledge responsibility for worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and commit to act and set specific climate goals. Since its inception, the Act has integrated the following into its framework:

  • Integrated Energy and Climate Protection Plan (IEKK) - includes over 100 measures to reduce GHG emissions with a focus on energy, transport and land use.
  • Climate change adaptation strategy – includes goals and precautionary adaptation measures. The strategy supports the limitation of the unavoidable consequences of climate change.

The IEKK is a monitored initiative which helps the state track its development towards a more climate friendly future. For example, the 2019 report revealed that:

  • Overall emissions in Baden-Württemberg decreased by 14.2% (12.6 million tons of CO2 equivalents) between 1990 and 2018. 
  • In 2018, emissions reduction across all sectors can be seen for the first time. However, the transport sector accounts for almost 31% of the overall emissions and therefore remains the main source of emissions.
  • In order to achieve the statutory target of a 25% reduction in emissions by the end of 2020 (compared to 1990), a further 9.7 million tons of CO2 equivalents will have to be avoided.

It will be interesting to see what consequences the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the development of the overall emissions and whether it might support the achievement of the statutory target. In the meantime, the introduction of an inter-sectoral perspective under the Climate Protection Act around climate action in the construction industry will further Baden-Württemberg’s efforts for short- and long-term emission reductions.

Development of the Climate Protection Act

On 21st May 2019, Baden-Württemberg’s cabinet decided to draft a bill to amend the Act and defined key points for the amendment along with its practical implementation.

Once the draft was prepared, on 26th May 2020 the cabinet agreed the draft and the official hearing commenced. Over 50 organisations and authorities from all over Baden-Württemberg took part in the hearing, and on 28th July 2020 the cabinet transferred the draft to parliament as an official bill to be considered and has been awaiting a final vote for the past three months.

The bill was passed last night on 14th October 2020 by a majority vote and will now be enacted into legislation.

2030 emissions reduction goal

A central element of the amendment is the setting of a climate protection target for 2030 as an intermediate target on the way to achieving the region’s long-term 2050 goal. With a 2030 emissions reduction target of -42% (compared to 1990 levels), galvanising the public to act and reconstituting energy sources in existing builds is imperative to meet the state’s goals.

Making photovoltaic panels compulsory by 2022

From 2022, photovoltaic panels will be obligatory for all new non-residential buildings and carparks (with at least 75 parking spaces). This will apply to all roof construction and is intended to strengthen photovoltaic expansion in the building sector.

Solar panels and renewable energy installations are no longer talk of the past, but common practice of the future. With much discussion and criticism around wasted rooftop space in many German cities, Baden-Württemberg is showing leadership by putting this space to good use and utilising what is so easily available.

Franz Untersteller, Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector Baden-Württemberg, commented:

“By making Photovoltaic Systems for all non-residential buildings compulsory by 2022, we have made history in Germany. But we need more efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.“

The future of the Climate Protection Act

Baden-Württemberg has made great strides with the Climate Protection Act and is already proving to be an inspiring climate actor for many other European regions (Hamburg has a similar mandate which will come into effect in 2023). The latest developments were shared through the annual Under2 Coalition European Members Meeting 2020 and it was clear that other regions were eager to investigate the strategy further.

Baden-Württemberg is looking to expand this mechanism of change through Climate-Neutral Municipal Administration by 2040. The state will support local authorities and municipalities in achieving the voluntary goal of a climate-neutral administration through the practical application of the climate protection pacts.

As we continue to share insights on the Climate Protection Act, we hope our members stay inspired and make legally binding climate action a necessary framework of the future.

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