Solar panels to be legal requirement in French car parks

Tom Barnard

28 Feb 2023

The French government has passed a law which will require all car parks with more than 80 spaces to install solar canopies over at least half the area they cover. 

The move is expected to generate around 11 gigawatts of energy – enough to power nearly 8 million homes and the same as around 10 power stations.

Car park owners will have five years to install the panels if the lot has between 80 and 400 spaces, but those with more than 400 spots will have to comply within three years. The government has also passed laws to make it easier to install panels on empty land besides roads and railways.

In addition to providing power, the panels will provide shade and shelter to cars, meaning they will require less air conditioning when the owners come to use them.

Some companies have already begun installing the canopies. French energy company Engie has built a solar carport at a Stellantis factory in Sochaux in eastern France, which makes larger Peugeot models. With 64,000 solar panels over 22 hectares, it will supply around a third of the plant’s electricity needs.

Meanwhile, Disneyland Paris is installing a 17MW solar carport over 17 hectares of its parking area. It will supply energy to the theme park.

The Peugeot plant in Sochaux has France's biggest solar-canopied car park

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