Statements of successfull STO-makers
Our common target is to tackle all the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities to achieve a real sustainability, both for the municipal administration and the neighbors of our municipality. In this point, Solar Thermal Energy is a very important potential for our municipality. The Solar Thermal Obligation will contribute to regulate, guide and enhance the development of these systems, increasing the use of energy coming from renewable resources and reducing CO2 emissions.

Mrs. Adela Martínez Cachá - Deputy Mayor for Environment and Urban Quality at the City Council of Murcia (SP). Vice-President of the Local Agency for Energy and Climate Change  of Murcia.

Today, energy is a part of everyday life! As leaders in our community, we have the obligation to set an example of good practice in the areas of energy saving and renewable energy use, so that citizens would acknowledge the importance of each gesture intended to contribute to the health of the planet.

Eng. Lucian ILIESCU – Mayor of Giurgiu Municipality (RO)
“Solar thermal has enormous potential and low costs. Our challenge in Lazio is to convince people of the advantages deriving from its use.”

Mr. Filiberto Zaratti - Regional Minister for Environment and Cooperation among Peoples, Lazio Region (IT)

Solar energy will be
the “sun of energy”!

Professor Eduardo de Oliveira Fernandes - Secretary of State for Environment (Portuguese Government, 1984-1985), Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy for Energy and Innovation (Portuguese Government, 2001-2002), former Chairman of the Commission for Buildings Thermal Regulations at the CSOPT  (Portuguese Ministry of Public Works, 2002-2006)

Our justifiably ambitious climate protection goals are reachable. However, this needs active combatants. With the provided regulations we found a passable way for on one hand making an effective contribution to reducing CO2-emmissions and on the other hand not overburden the single citizen. People do follow, because they feel, that we have to act for protecting the climate.

Tanja Gönner - Minister for the Environment of the State of Baden-Württemberg (DE)

STO Database

Detail View:Barcelona Solar Ordinance.

City of Barcelona.

Municipality of Barcelona.


The Barcelona Solar Thermal Ordinance entered into force in August 2000. Its main promoter was the Sustainable City Council. The purpose of this ordinance is to regulate the incorporation of solar thermal energy and its use for the production of hot tap water in the city’s buildings. The Solar Ordinance affects new, restored and fully refurbished buildings and those seeking to implement a change of use. This regulation applies to buildings intended for residential, health-care, sports, commercial and industrial use and, generally, any activity involving the existence of kitchens, laundries or other circumstances that lead to a large consumption of hot water, regardless of whether they are public or privately owned.

Ordinance Facts
Ordinance titleOrdenanza Solar Térmica de Barcelona (OST).
Type of ordinancesolar thermal ordinance
Starting dateAdopted in July 1999 and mandatory since 1 August 2000.
Geographical areaCity of Barcelona.
No. of inhabitants, areaAbout 1,6 millions; 101 km2

It applies to buildings for residential, health-care, sports, commercial and industrial use and, generally, any activity involving the existence of kitchens, laundries or other circumstances that lead to a consumption of hot water.

Technology priorities

It is mainly a solar thermal regulation. However, other renewable energy technologies are allowed.

Size of the solar heating system requiredMinimum solar contribution depending on the demand (>60%), at a temperature of 60°C.
Alternative measuresHowever, other renewable energy technologies are allowed.
Executing authorityMunicipality of Barcelona.
Execution mechanism

Developed in both a bottom-up and a top-down approach: the NGOs’ lobby played an important role in the implementation and the initiative of decision makers made it become true. It was a local initiative. The Barcelona Energy Agency is operating the STO. There is a steering committee of thermal installations at national level.

Development and Implementation

The municipal elections in Barcelona resulted in a new coalition, where a Green Party candidate was appointed for the first time in the city’s history. The new government was based on a political agreement that included the creation of a new political entity (the Sustainable City Councillor) and was committed to push programs for the development and diffusion of renewable energies.


Technical and innovation development, decrease of expenses on fossil fuels, avoidance of CO2 emissions, jobs creation and improvement on living quality.


The main initiator was the local energy agency BarnaGEL, whose main objective was to build up cooperation between local actors in order to develop energy projects. The Sustainable City Councilor, Josep Puig, who asked himself a simple question: “Why was solar energy not widely used in Barcelona, despite the available resource,  the energy needs and its available surface?”


The Barcelona Solar Ordinance was approved on July 1999 and entered into force in August 2000.

Quality schemes productyes
Quality schemes installationno
Quality schemes otheryes
Flanking measures

Training courses for professionals
Solar thermal guide
Predimensioning tool
"The integral manager", for assisting users in the implementation process


Checks in the design phase (by the Energy Agency)
Check by a certified installer
Random inspections by the Municipality

Sanctioning feesFrom 6,000 to 60,000 €, depending on the level of violation.
Costs for implementing

Not available.

Monitoring and Results

The Barcelona Energy Agency monitors the ordinance.

Quantitative results

Summary 2002-2006: 40,095 m2 of total solar thermal installed; 26.8 m2/1.000 inhabitants; 32,076 MWh/year; 5,640 tons CO2/year reduced.

Costs borne by the enduser0.29-0.38% increase per m2 built.
Effects on other sectors

Several projects have been carried out within Catalonia although it was not mandatory in the whole region (e.g. solar thermal for industrial processes).


Centralization of the activities within the Barcelona Energy agency.
Management scheme (“gestor integral”) that clarifies all procedures and do some bureaucratic issues on-line.

Future outlook

The Barcelona Solar Energy Bureau was born, involving major stakeholders.

Lessons learned
Barriers faced and overcome

-Bad and frustrating experiences for solar during the ‘70s
-Lack of experience and knowledge of involved parties
-Lack of monitoring and maintenance
-Monitoring on the STO
-Complexity of bureaucratic procedures
-Lack of subsidies or financial incentives

Success factors

The commitment of all the parties involved to make it become true and further improve it.

Potential for improvement

-Inclusion of building renovations in obligation
-Offering financial incentives
-Information for building owners about financial schemes and bureaucratic procedures


Independent entity to involve all main actors in the process.
Clear formulation, effective quality control and exhaustive monitoring (including lifetime of the installation).

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