Why not cover ugly parking lots with solar panels?
A BACKLASH AGAINST industrial-size solar farms is brewing. At least 75 big solar projects were vetoed across the United States last year, compared to 19 in 2021. And between January 2021 and July 2022, planning permission for 23 new solar farms was rejected across England, Wales, and Scotland, when only four projects were refused between 2017 and 2020—representing the highest rejection rate in five years. Decarbonization, to some extent, risks getting bogged down by planning objections. People very often don’t want solar farms in their backyard.
France, though, appears to have a solution: transforming its parking lots into solar farms nationwide. The French Senate has approved a bill requiring new and existing lots with more than 80 spaces to be at least half covered with canopies of solar panels that sit over the parking spaces. Assuming the bill comes into effect later this year, parking lots with more than 400 spaces must be compliant by 2026; smaller ones with 80 to 400 spaces will be given until 2028.
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