France’s New Solar Parking Lot Law
Until recently, France did not have national solar parking lot legislation. However, that is changing as the country’s government works to develop new regulations that will come into effect in 2028. This new legislation is aimed at boosting the nation’s renewable energy production. Specifically, the new regulations will allow 92km2 of French urban land to produce up to 11 gigawatts of solar power.
New regulations come into effect in 2028
Earlier this year, the French Senate approved a bill requiring solar panels be installed in parking lots to increase their electricity output. It is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s larger plan to fight climate change.
The new law requires owners of large parking lots to cover the asphalt with a canopy of solar panels. The government expected the parking lots to generate 11 gigawatts of clean power. This energy would be eight percent of France’s total electricity capacity.
The French senate approved the measure on November 4, 2022, and it is expected to come into effect in 2026 or 2028. The law would apply to lots with 80 or more spaces, though some operators may receive exemptions.
Disneyland Paris plans to install 82,000 solar panels by 2023
Taking its environmental strategy to the next level, Disneyland Paris plans to build one of Europe’s biggest solar canopy plants. The project will use 82,000 solar panels, powering 17% of the resort’s energy needs.
The plant will cover a total of 42 acres and produce enough clean energy to power two theme parks and eight hotels without requiring electricity from the grid. It is expected to be completed in 2023.
The project is being developed with the French company Urbasolar. The company has already installed 46,000 solar modules over the park’s parking lot. The company plans to install additional solar panels in phases until the project is completed in 2023.
The park is a major tourist destination in Europe and welcomes over 320 million visitors each year. To combat its carbon footprint, it has implemented a number of environmentally friendly strategies in the past few years. In addition to eliminating single-use plastics, it created a geothermal power plant to generate electricity and water fountains to purify the water. It has also planted 450,000 shrubs and trees.
Future plans for large solar farms
Increasing demand for renewable energy is driving the need for new measures to speed up the construction of large solar farms in France. President Emmanuel Macron’s ambitious plan to double the amount of solar power produced in the country and the amount of power generated by land-based wind farms will require France to install more than three GW of solar power per year.
In the first half of 2021, France installed 1.4 GW of solar capacity, a fourfold increase over the previous year. The government predicts that by 2028, costs could fall to 40 euros/MWh for ground-mounted PV, compared to 55 euros/MWh in 2019.
Future plans for large solar farms in France include the development of floating solar projects, which bypass the problems with land contention. The government estimates that there are more than 1,300 sites with the potential for solar. Currently, these sites include water reservoirs and old industrial areas.