France Tries Its Hand at Solar Panel-Covered Car Parks

France Tries Its Hand at Solar Panel-Covered Car Parks

/ Policy & Regulations / Thursday, 10 November 2022 09:07

Pushing its clean energy agenda forward, the French Senate has approved a bill that requires parking lots with a minimum of 80 spaces to be covered by solar panels, according to Public Senat.

Starting July 2023, parking lots with between 80 and 400 spaces will have five years to comply with the order, while larger lots must do so within three years from the same date. All in all, at least half the area of the parking lot must be covered with solar panels. The government estimates the parking lots off freeways and major routes will generate up to 11 gigawatts — the equivalent of 10 nuclear reactors. Around 70% of French electricity is generated using nuclear energy.

Under the policy, outdoor parking lots with technical, safety, architectural, heritage and environmental constraints, lots with 50% tree cover and lots for trucks may each be exempted. Additionally, the economic variability of installing the panels will also be considered.

In addition to the installation of solar panels for parking lots, the French government is also considering developing large solar farms on vacant lands along highways, railroad tracks and agricultural areas. National railway operator SNCF also plans to install over a million square meters of solar panels by 2030.

As part of its solar power projects, Disneyland Paris is covering 9,600 parking spots with 67,500 solar panels to create one of Europe’s largest solar canopy plants.

The financial aspect of carrying out the project is yet to be finalized, as covering parking lots with solar panels is a relatively new trend, with many projects being taken up globally.

France intends to increase its solar energy production tenfold to over 100 GW and build 50 offshore wind farms to add a further 40 GW. France currently generates 25% of its electricity with renewables, comparatively less than other European nations. France has also witnessed deferments on its nuclear plant maintenance. State electricity company EDF recently announced lower predicted electricity output, adding pressure to an already tightening energy crisis environment, resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war.

Also read:  COP27: UAE, Egypt Agree to Build Grand-Scale Wind Farms

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