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I live in a flat, as most europeans do. I'm not even the owner, so how I am supposed to push for that. Even if the owner did I don't think the surface of the roof is enough, not to mention that it has shadows from other buildings, antennas and so on.



It's likely that you would need to get planning permission to put solar panels on the roof of a building. This generally requires you to be the owner.

Therefore it might not be best described as a market failure. It could be better described as a failure due to planning regulations that only give power to land-owners.

This is big problem in Europe, since as you point out: many people rent.


So...you think regulations should allow renters to modify someone else’s property, even if against the owners wishes?

If a proposition for solar panels is actually realistic and a net positive, the owners should be easily convinced without resorting to force.


The owners would have to pay for the panels.

They do not pay for the electricity used in the property.

Therefore there is no way for it to be in their economic interests.


>Therefore there is no way for it to be in their economic interests.

I would certainly pay a bit more in rent for a place where my energy use was subsidized by panels.


In a way, they do pay for the electricity. The more energy costs their tennants, the less than can charge for rent.


It is a market failure.

The incentives of the owner need to be aligned with the incentives of the tenant, that is the failure.

Either, as you point out, tenants need to be given powers to install solar panels, and given security of tenure to take advantage of the long term investment, (which seems to me would go further than mere planning regs). Or incentivise the owner to install solar panels, this seems more straight forward, although might not necessarily benefit the tenant.


When you own a condo, a similar problem arises: you need everyone in the building to agree, since the roof is shared. In my building, this would be a non-starter.


And rooftop solar is like the very definition of Not Scalable. A building with 6 or 60 families has the same roof area, but 10X different demand.


Solar may not be the best option for your particular location. You might consider purchasing some sort of carbon offset corresponding to your use (pay to plant x trees etc).

https://solargis.com/maps-and-gis-data/download/europe


Is there any organization that you could recommend for planting trees?


The ones I am aware of and are frequently mentioned when such things are discussed on HN are:

- https://onetreeplanted.org/

- https://trees.org/

In terms of concrete results the second one seemed like a likely candidate to me. Donating to them is unacceptable to me because they are based in the US and require a lot of personal information before they will accept a donation.




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