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A Strong Signal From France

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On November 4, France gave a big boost to the adoption of renewable energies, by adopting a law that, among other things, aims to impose the installation of photovoltaic shades for outdoor parking lots with more than 80 spaces.

The provision should stimulate the development of solar energy production in France, especially in large commercial areas. According to the government, the potential of the measure could reach up to 11 gigawatts, equivalent to the power of a dozen nuclear reactors.

The obligations of the article provide for some exceptions such as technical, security, architectural or heritage constraints. The provisions will come into force on July 1, 2023, in a progressive manner, depending on the size of the parking lots. Parking lots with more than 400 spaces will have to be brought into compliance within three years of this date, and five years if the number is between 80 and 400.

In case of non compliance of the parking lot, the sanctions could be heavy, namely a penalty of 50EUR/car park per month. A parking lot of 120 places which would not respect the new legislation would thus expose itself to 72000EUR of annual fine. Under discussion…

With such provisions, the risk of supply shortages is not negligible. The opportunity for some members of the hemicycle to recall that most of the supply lines are at this stage outside the European Union.

In Belgium, we have to go back to the end of 2019 for the submission of a Belgian National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan. Renewable energies are at the heart of the plan, with ambitious and honourable objectives, but it should be noted that the national strategy is essentially based on incentives (green certificates etc…) and not on obligations leading to possible sanctions.

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