In France, Every Big Parking Lot to Be Solar

November 9, 2022

I often hear people say, “why don’t we just use parking lots instead of farmland for solar?”.

In France, that’s now being mandated, but the larger legislation still calls for farmland to be used. That’s because even if you cover every available space in the average city with solar panels, it’s not enough to power an industrial society where you’ve electrified everything.
I interviewed Missy Stolz last spring, who is


In France, solar just got a huge boost from new legislation approved through the Senate this week that requires all parking lots with spaces for at least 80 vehicles – both existing and new – be covered by solar panels.

The new provisions are part of French president Emmanuel Macron’s large-scale plan to heavily invest in renewables, which aims to multiply by 10 the amount of solar energy produced in the country, and to double the power from land-based wind farms. 

Starting July 1, 2023, smaller carparks that have between 80 and 400 spaces will have five years to be in compliance with the new measures. Carparks with more than 400 spaces have a shorter timeline: They will need to comply with the new measures within three years of this date, and at least half of the surface area of the parking lot will need to be covered in solar panels. 

According to the government, this plan, which particularly targets large parking areas around commercial centers and train stations, could generate up to 11 gigawatts, which is the equivalent of 10 nuclear reactors, powering millions of homes. Public Sénat writes that stipulations were put into place excluding parking lots for trucks carrying heavy goods or parking areas in historic or protected areas, to avoid “distorting” them, according to an amendment to the bill.

Other measures on the table include building large solar farms on vacant land found alongside highways and railways, as well as on agricultural lands where feasible. Macron has said that any bill passed would need to guarantee money that ensures local communities directly benefit from the energy shift.


3 Responses to “In France, Every Big Parking Lot to Be Solar”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    At least here in Texas, putting solar arrays over black asphalt parking lots should reduce the heat island effect a bit.

  2. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    The large nearby mall has solar panels over the top floor of it’s parking garage. A small mall we frequent has solar providing shade and shelter over all it’s parking. Positive and beautiful sight!

  3. J4Zonian Says:

    This is the most basic and primitive form of this and should just be a starting point, written into the law. Water collection and storage for landscape use for food, beauty, reduction of nature deficit disorder, cooling, and inclusion of all lots bigger than 10 spaces, with subsidies but not requirement for smaller ones.

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