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Solar obligation for parking spaces: What applies in which federal state?

The solar obligation for parking spaces is gradually being introduced for every federal state in Germany. This article gives you an overview of the current and future regulations in the individual federal states on the solar obligation for parking spaces.

02
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07
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2024
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Reading time
Minutes
Contents

Why is there a solar obligation for parking spaces?

The solar obligation promotes the use of renewable energies by introducing obligations to install photovoltaic systems (or solar thermal systems) to generate electricity. The solar obligation, also called photovoltaic obligation or commercial obligation for solar installations, mostly refers to roof areas and car parks, as these offer a lot of space for photovoltaic modules and thus generate as much electricity as possible. The aim of the solar obligation is to increase the share of electricity from renewable energies and to accelerate the expansion of solar energy use. In addition, the obligation contributes to greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045. Greenhouse gas neutrality is a goal of the federal government and means that the same amount of greenhouse gases is emitted as is removed, resulting in a "net zero".

Which parking spaces are affected by the solar obligation?

For the most part, the solar obligation for parking spaces applies to newly built, open parking areas with at least 35 to 100 parking spaces (depending on the federal state). The parking space must also be suitable for solar use. The suitability is regulated differently depending on the federal state. If these requirements are met, a photovoltaic system must be installed. Depending on the federal state, the installation of a solar thermal system is permitted as an alternative. The use of external surfaces of buildings and areas in the direct vicinity is also possible instead of installing photovoltaic modules above the parking area.

In the following, the regulations of the individual federal states with solar obligation are explained.

Compulsory solar energy in Baden-Württemberg

In Baden-Württemberg, the further development of the Climate Protection Act stipulated a solar obligation from 1 January 2022. All newly built, open parking spaces with more than 35 parking spaces for which the building application was submitted from 1 January 2022 must be equipped with a photovoltaic system above the parking space area. The parking space must be suitable for solar use for this purpose. Baden-Württemberg lays down clear conditions for suitability: parking spaces are suitable for solar use if they are intended only for passenger cars, if the parking space surface does not slope more than 10 degrees and if at least four parking spaces are arranged next to each other. If these requirements are met, it is obligatory to equip at least 60 percent of the parking space area with photovoltaic modules. It is also possible to install the photovoltaic system on an external surface of a new building standing in the direct vicinity. An exception to the solar obligation applies to parking spaces directly along carriageways of public roads. Further information: Baden-Württemberg Climate Protection Act

Compulsory solar energy in North Rhine-Westphalia

According to North Rhine-Westphalia's solar obligation, new open car parks of non-residential buildings or commercial spaces with more than 35 parking spaces must install photovoltaic systems if they are suitable for solar use. The state building code does not further define what is meant by suitability for solar use or who decides on suitability. The solar obligation applies to parking spaces for which an application for planning permission is received by the building supervisory authority from 1 January 2022. The photovoltaic system is to be installed above the suitable parking space. The installation of a solar thermal system for heat generation is equivalent to the installation of a photovoltaic system. As in Baden-Württemberg, the obligation does not apply to parking spaces directly along roadways. You can find more information here: State Building Code of North Rhine-Westphalia

Compulsory solar energy in Rhineland-Palatinate

In the state law on the installation of solar systems in Rhineland-Palatinate, there is an obligation to install solar systems (photovoltaic systems) for new parking spaces suitable for solar use with 50 parking spaces or more from 1.1.2023. The ministry responsible for climate protection reserves the right to determine further regulations on the minimum requirements for parking spaces suitable for solar use in cooperation with other departments. As an alternative to photovoltaic systems, solar thermal systems can also be used if a need can be demonstrated. In contrast to North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg, photovoltaic systems do not have to be installed above the parking space. If photovoltaic systems or solar thermal systems are installed on outdoor surfaces in the immediate vicinity, this is also permitted. The area of the photovoltaic systems must be at least 60 percent of the parking space area suitable for solar use. New parking spaces directly adjacent to public roads are exempt from the solar obligation. For more information click here: State Solar Law Rhineland-Palatinate

Compulsory solar energy in Schleswig-Holstein

The Schleswig-Holstein Energy Transition and Climate Protection Act, in which the solar obligation is enshrined, applies to newly built open parking spaces suitable for solar use with more than 100 parking spaces that are constructed after 1.1.2023. The ministry responsible for energy and climate protection, together with other ministries, may define more specific rules on the minimum requirements for the nature of a suitable open parking space through statutory orders. This also includes suitability for solar use. If these requirements are met, photovoltaic systems must be installed over parking spaces. Alternatively, the photovoltaic modules can be mounted on the exterior surfaces of adjacent buildings or in the immediate vicinity. It is also possible to equip the roof surfaces with a solar thermal system for heat generation as a substitute. Further information: Schleswig-Holstein Energy Transition and Climate Protection Act

Compulsory solar in Bavaria, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg and Lower Saxony

The solar obligation in a few other federal states mostly concerns only residential and commercial buildings and not car parks. Bavaria, for example, has a solar obligation for commercial roofs, while Lower Saxony has a solar obligation for commercial properties. In Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg, a solar obligation has been passed for new buildings and roof renovations.

What about the solar obligation in the other federal states?

Other federal states, on the other hand, have not (yet) decided on a solar obligation. However, according to the coalition agreement, at least roof areas are to be used for photovoltaic systems. This is to be mandatory for new commercial buildings and "the rule" for new private buildings. 

This is how the solar obligation contributes to sustainable mobility

Renewable energies are thus promoted more intensively with the country-specific solar obligations, thereby increasing their share in the total production of electricity. Thus, parking spaces with photovoltaic systems contribute directly to sustainable mobility, as does digital parking management, which reduces land sealing, air pollution and waste. You can read more about this in this article: Contribution of digital parking management to the sustainable transport transition

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