Thursday, November 10, 2022

Solar panels on car parks are a no-brainer

The Guardian reports that France is going to require all large car-parks to be covered by solar panels:

All large car parks in France will be covered by solar panels under new legislation approved as part of president Emmanuel Macron’s renewable energy drive.

Legislation approved by the French Senate this week requires existing and new car parks with space for at least 80 vehicles to be covered by solar panels.

The owners of car parks with between 80 and 400 spaces have five years to comply with the measures, while operators of those with more than 400 will have just three years. At least half of the area of the larger sites must be covered by solar panels.

The French government believes the measure could generate up to 11 gigawatts of power.

This seems like a total no-brainer. At the moment car parks are big, empty spaces which just turn solar energy into heat. Solar panels will provide shade for users, while turning that energy into usable, zero-emissions electricity.

Its an obvious measure to adopt here. But we should also be going further and requiring solar panels to be installed on all large buildings which receive decent sunlight. Malls and warehouses are obvious targets, since they have large roof areas. But ultimately we should be amending the building code to require them to be installed on new homes, and retrofitted to old ones (starting with rental properties). We're going to need a lot more power to decarbonise industry and transport, and to kick fossil fuels from our electricity network. This is one obvious way to do it.