To stimulate the development of solar energy production the French Senate has adopted a bill to require larger car parks to be covered by solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.
If the French National Assembly approves the measure the law will apply to car parks with more than 80 spaces. Larger car parks with more than 400 spaces will have three years to comply, smaller parks with 80 and 400 spaces have been given five years.
Car park operators who fail to comply risk being fined €48,000 a year. Senators who objected to the new law on the grounds that it would favour PV panel production lines located outside the European Union were asked if they would be refusing to buy toys made in China at Christmas.
Proposals are also being developed for solar farms alongside motorways and railways. And SNCF, the nationalised railway, have already invited tenders for installing 1.1 million square metres of PV panels on its stations.
France’s solar PV initiatives are far less costly than building new nuclear power plants. But more relevant to France’s immediate fuel crisis, solar farms can quickly begin generating electricity. Quite a contrast to nuclear energy where new plants take years to come on stream.