France is upping its renewable energy capacity by requiring all large car parks to cover at least half of their area with solar panels—a move that could generate up to 11 gigawatts of power.
The legislation was approved by the French Senate earlier this month and will apply to all car parks with space for more than 80 cars. Parking lots with between 80 and 400 spaces will have five years to install the panels, while those with more than 400 spots will have just three years, reports the Guardian.
Over the last year, President Emmanuel Macron has expressed support for France’s nuclear power industry, and in September he announced plans to expand the country’s renewable energy capacity. He paid a visit to France’s first offshore wind farm and hopes to speed up construction of the country’s renewable energy projects, the Guardian says.
Even before the legislation had passed, clean energy investors had begun installing solar panels over some car parks in the country. French politicians are also considering proposals to build large solar farms on empty land near roadways, railways, and on farmland.
In addition to concerns about climate change and promises to reduce emissions, France is among the many European countries reevaluating their energy policies after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. France’s energy supply is also threatened by serious technical and maintenance issues in its nuclear sector, the Guardian says. The government has launched campaigns to encourage energy conservation and is planning to spend €45 billion (C$62 billion) to reduce the impact of high energy prices on households and businesses.