Experts criticise city of Bonn: Expansion of photovoltaic panels is “real embarrassment”

Experts criticise city of Bonn : Expansion of photovoltaic panels is “real embarrassment”

The installation of solar energy systems on the roofs of Bonn is progressing far too slowly says one expert. He considers the developments in recent years to be “a real embarrassment.”

According to the city, there were 62 buildings equipped with photovoltaics at the end of 2016 with an output of 1007 kilowatts. At the end of 2018, the number was 63 buildings with an output of 1100 kilowatts. All in all, the city has done far too little to expand photovoltaics since the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) came into force in 2000, says Herbert Hoting.

Hoting is annoyed that the city administration is not firmly renouncing its profitability calculation. According to this, the operation of solar panels on municipal properties is “not economically viable.” Solar energy expert Christian Förster from the Sauerland region believes – as does Hoting – that the calculation is wrong.

The city had extracted the basis for the calculation from a year old edition of the trade magazine Photon. It later conceded that the figures were outdated, but correct. Hoting says: “Photovoltaic systems were and are economical to operate at all times. The fatal signal given by the city of Bonn to its citizens to keep away from solar power systems must now be corrected publicly.” A study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) published in 2018 underlines the economic viability.

Politicans also had doubts about the calculation. In spring 2018, they commissioned the city’s building management department (SGB) to examine all of the around 1000 roofs of municipal properties for their suitability for the installation of photovoltaic systems. At the same time, the SGB works committee decided to offer suitable roofs to the public utilities companies.

Several contracts agreed since last year

And lo and behold: according to information from the city and the public utilities companies, ten contracts have been concluded since last year and others are in preparation. “Politicians will soon be informed about the status of the negotiations,” said Markus Schmidt from the press office. The systems are to be installed on the roofs of daycare centres, the Lengsdorf fire station and the Hardtberg secondary school, among others.

The SWB subsidiary Energy and Water (ENW) assumes it will be able to have six of these photovoltaic systems built this year. Further municipal roofs are being looked at.

Christoph Caspary, project director at ENW, said: “We expect an investment of 500,000 to 600,000 Euros for the ten systems that will have paid for themselves in 16 to 18 years.”

(Original text: Philipp Königs; Translation: kc)