Public housing

Stuttgart’s public housing gets a solar-powered makeover

Stuttgart’s public housing gets a solar-powered makeover

Two municipal companies have teamed up to provide photovoltaic systems on the roofs of social housing

Last week, the local authorities of Stuttgart announced a cooperation agreement between the municipal housing and urban development company – Stuttgarter Wohnungs‐ und Stadtbaugesellschaft (SWSG) and Stadtwerke Stuttgart (Stuttgart State Works). The agreement concerns the installation of photovoltaic systems on the roofs of existing and future HLMs.

According to the press release, in addition to pushing the city further towards its sustainable objectives, social housing tenants will benefit from reduced electricity bills, thanks to the green electricity tariff.

The city said the first systems will be installed in the summer of 2022.

Municipal business cooperation can create a multiplier effect

Before signing a formal agreement between the two companies, they carried out analyzes to ensure the best course of action to achieve the objectives of the two public bodies.

The SWSG is Stuttgart’s municipal housing company and it manages 19,000 rental apartments, providing affordable housing in the city. This makes it one of the most economically sound public housing companies in Germany, playing a vital role in the city’s housing market as well as in urban development.

Stadtwerke Stuttgart, on the other hand, is a relatively new company, established in 2011, with the express purpose of promoting the local transition to renewable energy. Since then, he has been responsible for investing in solar and wind expansion. Nuclear and coal are strictly irrelevant.

According to preliminary analyses, at peak solar power generation, the SWSG is capable of an output of 25 megawatts. This can power around 9,000 apartments, almost half of their total stock.

Solar expansion is expected to occur at a rate of about three to five megawatts per year. This should lead to a 2.5% to 4% reduction in CO2 emissions from SWSG.

The city – putting in place legislation to accelerate the climate transition

In July 2021, the state government of Baden-Württemberg introduced a law that will oblige all private citizens to install photovoltaic systems when renovating the roof. The law is expected to come into force on January 1, 2023.

In addition, the same rule will start applying to newly constructed buildings and parking lots with more than 35 cells from May 1, 2022.

The decision stems from the state government’s ambition to exceed federal climate targets in Germany. Indeed, the German government has set itself the goal of achieving a 90% carbon neutral status by 2050, while the heads of state of Baden-Württemberg have set their sights on carbon neutrality by 2040.

The new agreement between SWSG and Stadtwerke Stuttgart appears to stem from a need to meet state government deadlines at the municipal level. However, it is a bit behind when it comes to municipal building laws and sustainable energy. Hamburg, for example, made photovoltaic systems on the roofs of all municipally owned buildings mandatory in August.