Europe's Green Deal aims to put citizens at the heart of the energy transition by acknowledging energy communities as distinct market actors in the energy market. More specifically, the high potential and contribution of energy communities in the mainstreaming and accelerated deployment of solar energy is recognized in the EU Solar Energy strategy, which thus puts in place an objective for Member States to set up at least one renewables-based energy community in every municipality with a population higher than 10.000 by 2025. In addition, such a strategy acknowledges the social benefits that energy communities bring forward and highlights that Member States should ensure that energy poor and vulnerable consumers have access to solar energy, e.g. through social housing installations, energy communities, or financing support for individual installations.

Consequently, Member States need to ensure that their national legislation on energy communities and renewables planning contribute towards the delivery of the Green Deal and that local actors, including energy communities, have a fair chance to develop their projects and promote technical, but also social innovation. The European Commission should, therefore, guide Member States so they can comply with the requirements under the CEP and the EU Solar Energy strategy and promote the development of energy communities at the national level, recognizing the socially innovative elements they bring forward.

This position paper shares’s response to the call for evidence on innovative forms of solar energy deployment.