New French Law Requires Parking Lots to Be Covered With Solar Panels


Parking lots are bad for the environment for a bunch of reasons, but a new French law aims to curb some of the negative impacts. Starting in July 2023, owners of lots with between 80 and 400 spaces will have five years to cover them with solar panels.

The law states that half of the lot must be covered with solar panels, and the government believes its new plan could generate up to 11 gigawatts of electricity, which, as Engadget points out, is near the output of 10 nuclear power plants. Though lots with up to 400 spaces have five years to comply, larger areas will have three. 

Regardless of their size, all lots must cover at least half of their area with panels. The government built in exceptions to the law, however, so there will be some that get by without the effort. If a lot has “technical, safety, architectural, heritage, and environmental constraints,” they may qualify for an exemption. The law also offers exemptions for lots covered at least halfway by trees, lots for which compliance “cannot be met under economically acceptable conditions,” and dedicated truck parking lots. The government is also exploring the possibility of building solar farms on vacant lots and near highways or railroad tracks. 

We don’t know if the French government will offer financial assistance to parking lot owners, nor has it stated how it would pay for installing the solar panels. Even so, some industries in France are already working toward a solar-powered future. Disneyland Paris is building its own solar parking lot, and one of the country’s national railway operators has promised to install over a million square meters of panels by 2030.

[Image: Seo Byeong Gon via Shutterstock]

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