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Eurosolar for all: energy communities for a fair energy transition in Europe (Sun4All)

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Renewables for all: promoting a fair energy transition in Europe

An EU-funded project seeks to make renewable energy accessible to vulnerable households suffering from energy poverty, who would otherwise lack the capacity to invest in solar installations.

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Energy communities are decentralised, citizen-led initiatives allowing individuals, small businesses and local entities to actively participate in combatting climate change and promoting renewable energy. Over the past five years, EU legislation has spurred the growth of these communities across Member States, making them increasingly popular. These energy communities, however, face significant barriers to their establishment and long-term operations. A critical challenge is integrating a social approach into their business models, especially when it comes to addressing energy poverty. This is where the EU-funded Sun4All project steps in, contributing valuable innovative and practical solutions.

A financial scheme to the rescue

Sun4All has been inspired by the ‘Solar for All’ initiative in New York. The latter is a utility bill assistance programme that funds solar farms to benefit household owners and renters who may not have access to clean energy. Sun4All is adapting this successful model in a European context. However, Sun4All is more than just an assistance programme – it is a concerted effort to help vulnerable households to switch to renewable energy, thereby reducing their energy bills. “We support the concept of energy communities through shared energy consumption schemes and providing advice on efficient energy management at home,” notes project coordinator Camila Canelas. To this end, project members are testing a financial scheme based on a collective self-consumption model designed to contribute significantly towards tackling energy poverty. The scheme is being tested in four regions across Europe, expecting to reach 1 200 direct beneficiaries who will receive benefits from photovoltaic installations. It should also involve more than 7 200 vulnerable consumers in the EU in the energy transition. Sun4All’s goals extend beyond merely providing financial support. “We also seek to empower beneficiaries, transforming them into active participants in local energy communities and improving their living conditions,” adds Canelas. Another goal is to make Sun4All a stable programme to tackle energy poverty across the EU, contributing to policy development and best practices in energy poverty and capacity building.

Raising awareness on policy challenges

Project activities are being carried out in Almada (Portugal), Barcelona (Spain), Rome (Italy), and the Communauté de Communes Coeur de Savoie (France). Each pilot location has adapted the ‘Solar for All’ initiative to its local context, defining an implementation plan that includes eligibility criteria, recruitment and engagement actions, and community work plans. Sun4All also leads a Community of Practice involving 10 other cities and regions that are receiving technical and financial support from the consortium. Sun4All puts forward actionable policy recommendations and raises awareness on policy challenges related to energy communities and energy poverty. “We have been exploring the regulatory environment at various governance levels – EU, national and local. Issues such as loopholes in legislation, implementation delays, lack of appropriate procedures and insufficient incentives or support all pose hurdles,” explains Canelas.

Energy poverty as a multifaceted challenge

In 2022, energy poverty emerged as a pervasive issue affecting over 41 million Europeans, who were unable to keep their homes adequately warm. However, energy poverty extends far beyond this discomfort, it is a multi-dimensional problem, generated from the combination of low income, high energy expenses and poor energy efficiency in buildings. Sun4All is demonstrating how energy communities can be harnessed to promote renewable energy, improve living conditions and empower citizens.


Sun4All, energy poverty, energy communities, renewable energy, Solar for All, financial scheme

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