The solar law was approved by the town’s council on June 20, and will take effect Oct. 1. According to the law, a 1 square meter (10 square feet) panel must be installed for every 20 square meters (200 square feet) of surface area. Installing the panels could cost homeowners up to €5,000 ($7,800). The cost would be paid off through savings in energy bills over a 15-year period, the town’s mayor, Franz Kahle, said. Those violating the law will face fines starting at €1,000 ($1,500).
The town is home to Marburg University and has about 80,000 residents. Most of the residents support the decision made by the Social Democrats and Greens, but the opposition leaders say that to force people to equip their homes with solar panels equates to a “green dictatorship,” and that “nobody dares to say anything.”
“Sometimes you must force the hand of consumers for their own good”, says the specialist in solar Vajen Klaus, a professor at the University of Kasel.