solar panel
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
November 11, 2022 ·  5 min read

In France, All Large Parking Lots Now Have to be Covered by Solar Panels

In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in environmental impact awareness. Many countries are working hard to find new ways to utilize renewable energy, burn clean energy, and minimize their carbon footprint. France has passed a new law, that all large parking lots in the country will have to be covered by solar panels. President of France, Emmanuel Marcon is pushing hard to fight against global warming and its environmental impacts.

A President’s Attempt to Save the World

Macron’s Presidency has been a debatable topic amongst French residents in regard to his ability to balance both the environmental and economic needs of his country. According to a poll taken in June of 2018, environmental protection ranked number 8 out of 10 on a list of things citizens believe to be important topics for the government’s focus. Nevertheless, Macron has decided it’s in the best interest of his country, the environment, and consequently the rest of the world to move forward with his environmental protection plans. Solar panels will be built across the country in an attempt to harness more renewable power.

Parking Lots and Solar Panels

French President Emmanual Macron has put into place, a number of, new plans to build up the country’s eco-friendly reputation. 80 New wind turbines were installed offshore and now the President has declared, all parking lots with more than 80 spaces will be covered in solar panels. This includes the parking lots that have already been built and will extend to all future parking lots. Macron hopes that with his new plans the amount of solar energy produced will increase times 10.

Additionally, he hopes to double the power from land-based wind farms. Carparks will have 5 years within the start date of July 1, 2023, to implement this new law. However, for car parks that contain more than 400 spaces will have only 3 years to implement the President’s plans. For these larger parking lots, at least half of their surface area will be required to have solar panel coverings.

Projected Numbers

The projected increase of clean power around areas with high traffic, such as train stations or shopping centers is estimated to be the equivalency of 10 nuclear reactors, around 11 gigawatts. It’s been projected that this power supply will have the capacity to power millions of homes. Similarly, an additional 50 wind farms will be built by 2050. Delays in the building plans have been reduced from 10-12 years, down to 6. Additionally, larger solar farms will take place as early as 3 years from now, rather than the originally projected 6 years.

Solar panels are also part of France’s future railway system. SNCF will install around 190,000 square meters of solar panels throughout the country by 2025. The goal is to reach 156 stations with hopes of increasing to 1.1 million square miles by 2030. The changes are projected to reduce energy consumption by around %25.

A huge public debate involving 15,000 residents and government officials, was had to discuss environmental protection. They reached an agreement and this past Summer, the French Government set aside two official zones. These zones are designated for the construction of new offshore wind farms and will be located off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The first one will be sited by a nearby island called, Oleron, and the second will be located further out to sea. The French Government hopes the wind farms will together produce enough electricity for 1.6 million people.

Read: India’s First Solar-Powered Village Pays Residents’ Electric Bills And Then Some

Protecting Land and Citizens

Previous stipulations had been put in place preventing trucks from carrying goods. These stipulations extended to parking lots and historic or protected areas in order to preserve them and avoid unexpected damage. Other legislation includes building large solar farms on vacant land along highways, railways, and available agricultural lands. According to Macron, any bill that is purposed will only be passed if it ensures money for local communities due to the energy shift.

How Do Solar Panels Work

First and foremost, exposure to particles of sunlight is the most important element of ensuring effective power production. These particles referred to as solar cells are produced both from direct and indirect sunlight. When these cells from light “knock electrons free from atoms” they begin to flow. The solar panels are engineered to capture that flow and create a usable electric current. The process is referred to as the photovoltaic effect and was first discovered by Edmond Becquerel, in 1839.

Solar panels are made from two layers of Silicon. Each layer is specially treated to create an electric field. Phosphorus, positively charged, and boron, negatively charged, are commonly used in the treatment process. Alternatives to the use of silicon include organic solar cells, produced by dissolving organic materials in ink. The solar panel layers are then formed into thin plastics, and thin film solar cells. These are made from lightweight and pliable materials such as Cadmium and Copper.

Solar Panel Benefits

Much like all things in life, there are pros and cons to building solar panels. However, President Macron has decided the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Some of these advantages include energy savings. Meaning that the use of solar panels reduces the amount of electricity used on average. Versatility, solar panels can be used anywhere. This is true even in places that see a lot of annual rainfall. Solar panels create renewable energy and reduce other mining methods such as coal. Furthermore, not only do these panels benefit the environment, but they also help to increase the cost of home values.

Solar panels increase value while decreasing monthly costs and are gentler on the environment than other methods of energy production. France and several other countries worldwide are working harder to ensure environmental protection. In the U.S. California banned all production of gas-powered cars. Other states that have developed plans to go green include Vermont, New York, and Oregon.

Keep Reading: Record-Breaking Transparent Solar Panels Pave Way For Electricity-Generating Windows


  1. In France, all large parking lots now have to be covered by solar panels.” Electrek. November 8, 2022.