France to Require Solar Panels for Large Car Parks
A new law approved by the Senate in France will require car parks that can accommodate 80 or more vehicles to have solar panels. The legislation is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s focus on accelerating the transition to renewable energy in the country.
According to the law, car parks with 80 to 400 spaces for vehicles have five years (starting July 2023) to comply with the law, and larger parking lots with over 400 spaces need to comply in the next three years. Failure to comply in time will result in a fine of 50 euros per parking spot on the lot per month. So, a parking lot with 80 spaces that does not comply by the deadline could be fined 48,000 euros per year until the car park meets the requirements.
“We must not delay the implementation of the decarbonization of our economy,” Senator Agnès Pannier-Runacher said during the Senate debate on the legislation, as reported by Forbes.
According to the legislation, these larger car parks must have at least half of the property covered in solar panels. The government estimates the plan could generate up to 11 gigawatts of power, or the same amount of energy supplied by 10 nuclear reactors.
But there are exceptions, including lots that have architectural, environmental, heritage, or other proven restraints, and car parks that have at least half of the property shaded by trees may also be exempt. Parking lots for heavy goods vehicles weighing over 7.5 metric tons may not be required to install the solar panels, and solar panel installation that “cannot be met under economically acceptable conditions” could also be exempt, Engadget reported.
Still, many car parks in France are already equipped with solar panels, including the ongoing development of a 17 megawatt installation that will cover over 11,200 parking spots for Disneyland Paris. The new legislation is aimed at large car parks especially near highways and major routes. In addition to providing renewable energy, the solar panels can also help shade cars from the sun, keeping them cooler.
This is one component of France’s larger goal to transition to more renewable energies after missing the mark on its renewable energy targets in 2020, the only country in the EU to not meet its targets that year. In addition to the solar panel requirements for car parks, the country is considering building solar farms near highways, agricultural lands, and railroads.