PURPOSE: Sweden has committed itself to comply with EU legislation requiring that 20% of all energy used in the EU is to be supplied from renewable sources by 2020. One vehicle towards achieving this goal is through building integrated photovoltaics (solar cells). The Swedish cooperative housing sector has a lot of suitable roof space in need of major renovation. Installing PVs at the same time as the roof and/or the façade is being renewed provides a means of contributing to the goal above.

METHODOLOGY: Case studies are used to investigate the legal and economic challenges to large-scale installation of PVs on the roofs of properties owned by tenant-owner housing cooperatives in Sweden.

FINDINGS: There is an absence of a standardised nationwide legal and regulatory process addressing subsidies and billing for large-scale production of PV electricity by non-commercial entities. The lack of competency in long-term maintenance planning, investment analysis and procurement by the governing boards of the cooperatives provide major shortcomings in the effort to install PVs in the sector.

LIMITATIONS: The electricity prices in Sweden are very low as compared to many other countries putting a bias to the economic analysis.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: The extensive roof space in the high-rise multi-family housing sector should be utilized even more for the production of renewable energy.

ORIGINALITY/VALUE: Subsidies and studies on PVs in the housing sector have mainly focused on the single-family housing sector. This paper highlights issues in the cooperative housing sector that need to be addressed in order to gain from an easy means of contributing to a sustainable environment