New referendum launched to cover all Genevan buildings with solar panels
Plan would make solar panels mandatory by 2035
According to the Swiss Energy Foundation, Switzerland is not exploiting its potential as a hub for wind and solar power. Now, with the looming threat of blackouts this winter, many cities and cantons have been looking to invest in massive green energy projects to cope with possible energy shortages and climate change.
In Geneva, the Green Liberal Party has submitted a referendum to cover all roofs with solar panels. Called Vert'libéraux, the scheme would install photovoltaic panels on the roofs of all industrial areas by 2030, before moving on to private homes and rented accommodation. By 2035, the installation of solar panels would be made mandatory.
Low-cost loans would be used to pay for Geneva solar panels
Alongside the pledge, the initiative would look to remove legal barriers preventing the faster installation of solar panels. Residents would be given loans with extremely low-interest rates to pay for the upgrades, similar to the financial relief given to businesses during COVID. The surplus power generated by the panels would then be used to pay off the loan.
Speaking to 20 minuten, the president of the Genevan Green Liberals, Marie-Claude Sawerschel, called the referendum “a declaration of intent.” She said that the plan was ambitious but “achievable,” arguing that it was “necessary to move towards an energy transition,” especially in light of “the gas shortages the country has been facing.”
Concluding the interview, Sawerschel conceded that many people, like heritage groups, would be opposed to the idea, but said that the panels could be designed to “adapt to the landscape.” The party has now begun collecting signatures for a cantonal referendum.