The European Union (EU) faces an urgent need to overhaul its energy system to address the escalating climate crisis, reduce dependency on Russian fossil fuels, and provide affordable, sustainable energy. The Energy Transition represents a significant shift in the global energy paradigm, primarily driven by the imperative to manage climate change and transition from fossil-based economies to sustainable energy sources. This article explores the legal dimensions of this transition, focusing on the implementation of the Paris Agreement’s target to limit global warming to 1.5C and the diversification of energy sources.


The EU’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% and achieving 45% energy from renewable sources by 2030 sets a challenging yet crucial target. Essential to this goal is a comprehensive digital and sustainable transformation of the energy system, encompassing a wide array of technological, infrastructural, and policy changes.

Legal Frameworks for Solar Panel Installation

    1. Mandatory Solar Photovoltaic Panels: The EU’s policy requiring solar panels on all commercial and public buildings by 2027, and on new residential buildings by 2029, necessitates legislative action at both EU and member state levels. This includes amendments to building codes, urban planning regulations, and incentives for solar panel installation.
    2. Incentivization and Subsidization: Legal frameworks must include financial incentives, such as tax rebates, subsidies, and feed-in tariffs (hereinafter referred to as: the FiT; system in which compensation is mainly awarded administratively), to encourage rapid adoption and offset initial costs for businesses and households.

Solar Panel Installation in Croatia

Croatia, respectively its Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund (hereinafter referred to as: the Fund; in Croatian: Fond za zaštitu okoliša i energetsku učinkovitost) has launched mid-November this year a new Public Call for the promotion of installing photovoltaic power plants in family houses. This initiative, managed by the Fund, will reimburse homeowners who already have solar power plants up to 50% of the eligible installation costs.

The program has over 12 million euros available for funding. It is specifically aimed at subsidizing the installation of photovoltaic plants for self-consumption on the roofs of existing family homes or on existing auxiliary buildings adjacent to the family home. Only individuals, i.e., owners of family homes who were residing in the house at the time the photovoltaic plant was commissioned, are eligible to apply. The installed photovoltaic modules must have an efficiency of at least 18%.

Funding is available for plants installed and commissioned during the year 2023 (from January 1), covering up to 50% of the justified project costs, or up to 600 euros per kW of nominal power of the installed photovoltaic plant. The Public Call will remain open for applications until the end of the year or until the allocated funds are exhausted. The initial funding amounts to almost 12,5 million euros, with additional funds to be provided as needed. The funding for this project is secured through the Law on the Implementation of the EU Council Regulation on emergency intervention to address high energy prices. Those who have not installed a solar plant this year and cannot apply for this call will have the opportunity to do so next year. The Fund announces the continuation of funding for the installation of renewable energy systems for the year 2024, as part of its Program for the energy renovation of family houses worth 120 million euros. The conditions for this upcoming call will be announced soon. The co-financing rate for the installation of photovoltaic plants will also be 50% in the next year, as in the current call.

Integrating Heat Pumps and Electric Vehicles

    1. Deployment of Heat Pumps: The introduction of 10 million heat pumps in Europe requires regulatory support for technology standards, safety protocols, and energy efficiency ratings. Additionally, governments of the member states need to offer incentives and subsidies to facilitate adoption.
    2. Transition to Zero-Emission Vehicles: Replacing 30 million fossil fuel-powered cars with electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 demands comprehensive legal measures. This includes updating emissions standards, expanding EV charging infrastructure, and providing purchase incentives and tax benefits for EV buyers.

 Digitalization of the Energy Sector

    1. Smart Technologies: Investment in digital technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, 5G and 6G connectivity, and cloud-based energy data systems is crucial. Legal frameworks must ensure data privacy, cybersecurity, and interoperability standards.
    2. Regulatory Support for Digital Transition: Policies supporting the digital transformation should align with the European Green Deal and the Digital Decade policy. This includes regulations for digital infrastructure development, data governance, and cross-sector integration.

 Challenges and Recommendations

    1. Balancing Rapid Transformation with Legal Frameworks: The swift pace of energy transformation requires adaptable and forward-looking legal frameworks. Regular review and amendment processes are essential to keep pace with technological advancements.
    2. Cross-Border Coordination and Compliance: As energy systems become increasingly interconnected, cross-border legal cooperation of member states, and wider, is crucial. This involves harmonizing standards and practices across EU member states and ensuring compliance with EU-wide directives.
    3. Public Engagement and Education: Legal strategies must be complemented by public awareness campaigns and educational programs to ensure broad societal support and understanding of the changes.


The legal landscape of the EU must evolve rapidly to support the ambitious goals of its energy transformation. This involves not only enacting new laws and regulations but also revising existing frameworks to accommodate new technologies and practices. With coordinated efforts across the EU, these legal changes can pave the way for a more sustainable, efficient, and climate-resilient energy future. Croatia, as a member state that up to this moment has not been a significant player in renewable energy filed, must especially speed up its engagement in this process and facilitate its regulations so that shifting on renewable energy sources, both for its citizens, but also for entrepreneurs and companies is easy and acceptable. This is especially important due to the fact that Croatia is rich in many potentials and sources of renewable energy such as sun, water and wind.


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