Bucharest sub-municipality is going full-on solar by 2024
Sector 1 will be the first local administration to achieve sustainable energy autonomy in Romania
Today, the authorities in Bucharest’s sub-municipality, Sector 1, announced they will start installing solar panels on all public buildings. The project will take until 2024 to complete, but it will make it the first Romanian municipality to be completely self-reliant in terms of energy.
According to a statement by Sector 1’s mayor, Clotilde Armand, the completed system will produce more energy on an annual basis than the administrative sector consumes.
The decision seems to follow a similar trajectory to Germany's Stuttgart policy on municipal housing and Hamburg’s laws on roof renovations, mandating owners install solar panels. However, the Romanian approach seems much more swift and decisive.
In terms of administrative weight, Bucharest is at the same level as a county rather than a city. It is subdivided into six sectors, with each having its own mayor and city council.
A first for Romania
In her statement, Mayor Armand explained that Sector 1 will be the first local government in the country to produce more electricity than it consumes. Starting from this year, authorities will begin installing photovoltaic (PV) systems on all the roofs of public buildings in the sector.
According to her, there are 150 of them, including kindergartens, schools, high schools, hospitals and administrative offices. The project estimates that, with a gradual expansion in the next two years, the new PV system will be capable of producing 21,000 kWp (kilowatts at peak production).
Mayor Armand explained that that is more than the municipality consumes and because all the buildings in the sector are connected to the national grid, Sector 1 will feed the excess energy to the rest of the country.
Stages and consumption
The municipal PV system will be installed in stages, with the first one focusing on 10 educational buildings. The output should be around 2,000 kilowatts at peak production, or the rough equivalent of 2.4 million kilowatt-hours of free, green electricity per year.
For comparison, in 2020 the total energy consumption in Sector 1’s public buildings was around 9 million kWh of electricity and 28 million kWh of natural gas which cost the administration around 2.3 million euros.
Clotilde Armand explained that fossil fuel electricity is expected to get more and more expensive and the sooner they complete the shift to solar, the more money they will be able to save the taxpayer. Furthermore, the added value of reduced pollution will have an obvious positive effect on the health of the local residents.