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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Sun4All (Eurosolar for all: energy communities for a fair energy transition in Europe (Sun4All))

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2021-10-01 al 2023-03-31

Energy poverty is a growing problem across Europe, indicating that an increasing number of people are struggling to afford their energy bills and live comfortably without concerns about their consumption requirements. This emerging issue, coupled with the necessity for new models that promote a sustainable approach to energy production and consumption to mitigate climate change, is being addressed by Sun4All.

Thus, guaranteeing equitable access to renewable energies for vulnerable households serves several policy objectives, including affordable energy, job creation, and enhanced public health. Despite the pressing need, numerous households may face challenges in affording renewable energy system (RES) installations or participating in the energy transition due to factors like limited access to information, difficulties in securing financing, or existing ownership arrangements.

The Sun4All project aims to set up a financial support scheme for renewable energy access for energy poor households. The programme offers vulnerable consumers the opportunity to subscribe to community solar. The general scheme is based on the existing New York State initiative named “Solar for All” and will be adapted and implemented in 4 cities and regions in Europe: Barcelona (ES), Communauté de Communes Coeur de Savoie (FR), Rome (IT) and Almada (PT).

In addition to establishing an appropriate financial scheme, the primary objectives include offering solar shares to vulnerable consumers as an alternative to traditional social subsidies (such as paying utility bill arrears). Each of the pilot cities will design customized models tailored to their specific needs, ensuring the provision of multiple co-benefits such as:
• Beneficiaries benefit from cost savings through a complimentary community solar subscription.
• Access is guaranteed for both renters and homeowners, ensuring inclusivity in the energy transition and leaving no one behind.
• Personalized guidance and advice are provided to beneficiaries, promoting long-term behavioural change.
• Following testing and evaluation in these four cities and regions, the program is expected to be replicated and expanded to at least 10 other cities within the European Union, with the aim of establishing it as a permanent program in Europe.
The project consists of six work packages (WP), which are currently in progress as of M18 (March 2023).

WP1 is dedicated to project coordination and management. It serves as a cross-cutting work package, ensuring the project's successful implementation and providing the consortium with necessary tools and resources. As planned, two out of two deliverables have been submitted, and the associated milestone has been achieved.

WP2 is dedicated to defining the different business models, which is divided into two phases. In the first phase, blueprints and implementation plans were developed for each pilot city, adapting the New York State “Solar for All” model to the specific European and local contexts. The initial version of these blueprints and plans is currently being implemented and will be revised in the second phase after evaluation, to ensure they are more replicable across Europe. Furthermore, WP2 also focused on establishing the Community of Practice Observers Group, which was finalized by the end of March 2023. As planned , two out of four deliverables have been submitted, and two out of three associated milestones have been achieved.

WP3 is centred around user identification, defining eligibility criteria for participation, and implementing engagement actions. All pilot cities have defined these aspects to ensure the successful implementation of the pilot program. Currently, the pilots are actively working on engagement and recruitment actions for both the first and second phases of the pilot. Additionally, efforts are underway to define the mentoring process across all project pilots. As planned, two out of two deliverables have been submitted, and both associated milestones have been achieved in WP3.

WP4 is dedicated to the implementation and evaluation of the Sun4All scheme in the pilot cities. Impact assessment indicators and evaluation guidelines have been defined and are being followed throughout the implementation process. All pilots are currently progressing successfully. As planned, one out of four deliverables has been submitted, and efforts are underway to achieve the associated milestones.

WP5 focuses on sustaining transferability and scaling up the model across Europe. By M18, not much work has been completed yet. An initial analysis of the regulatory framework was underway, along with the development of a capacity building and knowledge sharing program. During the second phase of the project (M18-M36), WP5 is expected to have a more significant presence. No deliverables have been submitted, and work is in progress to achieve the associated milestones.

WP6 focuses on communication and dissemination actions and serves as another cross-cutting work package. To ensure effective and cohesive project communication, a visual identity, communication strategy, and guidelines have been established. Additionally, a video promoting the project has been created. Furthermore, this work package emphasizes the importance of networking and collaboration with related projects and initiatives, an ongoing task. As planned, three out of five deliverables have been submitted, and the associated milestone has been achieved.

By M18, a total of 11 out of 27 deliverables have been submitted, and 6 out of 12 milestones have been achieved.
By the project's conclusion, the aim is to establish procedures tailored to the specific local contexts of the pilot cities as well as at the European level. These procedures will facilitate the replication and scaling up of the Sun4All initiative, which aims to address energy poverty while promoting a fair and inclusive energy transition. The project's objective is not only to reach 100 direct beneficiaries per pilot city but also to engage a total of 6,000 consumers who can benefit from various project activities. These activities include citizenship workshops, the insights provided by the Community of Practice Observer's group, and the Capacity Building and Knowledge sharing program. Through these endeavours, the project seeks to foster behavioural change, empower citizens, encourage active participation in local communities, and enhance the living conditions of vulnerable individuals.

It is worth noting that, currently, the Barcelona pilot is actively engaged in designing a protocol in collaboration with the IMHAB (Municipal Institute of Housing and Renovation), building upon the experience gained from the 1st and 2nd pilot buildings in Barcelona. The objective is to streamline the process for upcoming buildings, following the Sun4All scheme. Additionally, in Coeur de Savoie, two models will undergo testing. One model will prioritize building renovation, while the other will introduce a ground-breaking self-consumption scheme, representing a pioneering solution in France.

Furthermore, the project anticipates a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an increase in primary energy savings through the utilization of renewable energy sources. Lastly, the project aims to have an impact on national policies addressing energy poverty, with the development of recommendations based on the project's outcomes.
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