France set to make solar panels compulsory in all large car parks

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France set to make solar panels compulsory in all large car parks
On June 12, 2008, customers of the E.Leclerc shopping center in Saint-Aunes pass by the supermarket's parking lot, which is equipped with solar panels (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT / AFP)

French car parks with more than 80 spaces will have to install solar panels within the next five years, as part of a package of measures aimed at boosting the country's renewables sector.


Large car parks in France might become a lot shadier and more eco-friendly with this new proposal that French Senators voted on as part of the country's "Renewable Energies Bill."

France's upper house voted on Friday to adopt measures that would make solar panels compulsory in all car parks with more than 80 of spaces, so large supermarkets and stores would likely be included.


The version of the renewable energies bill voted on by the Senate has 21 articles, all of which deal with the technical and administrative ways France can increase the use of renewable energy, from wind turbines to solar panels.

While the bill still has to go back to the National Assembly to be reviewed before it is finalised, the current version would make it so that any parking lot with more than 80 spaces must install "photovoltaic shades" - or large solar panels over the spaces. This amends the original version of the text, which required parking lots of at least 2,500 metres squared to do so. 

For parking lots with 80 to 400 spaces, they will have up to five years to make the necessary adjustments, while parking lots with over 400 spaces would have only three. 

Overhead solar panels can already be seen in some French car parks, particularly lorry parks on autoroutes, but they are not widespread.

The bill allows for some exemptions, such as for parking spots reserved for heavy goods vehicles, and its final version is likely to come with other alterations.

The measure is part of the country's continued "energy transition" goal, which is to move France away from dependence on fossil fuels. 

In September, President Macron announced that 80 turbines would enter full service by the end of the year, which are set to “provide up to 40 gigawatts” in service by 2050.

READ MORE: France opens up first offshore windfarm – but will more follow?

The French government has targeted vehicles and driving in other proposals as well. French president Emmanuel Macron recently announced an increase in the financial aid available for those who trade in their combustion engine cars for electric ones.

Disneyland Paris began plans to implement a large scale "solar canopy" in its main guest parking lot. The panels are set to produce 36 GWh per year of energy by 2023, which according to the company is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of a city with 17,400 inhabitants. 


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