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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.

If it’s economic to do this then people will do it anyway. If it’s not economic then why are you forcing them?

33 thoughts on “Idiots”

  1. Guess how many car parks will have space for 79 cars then? And if you have a 200 space carpark I expect it to get split into 3 companies each owning one 66 space carpark…….

  2. Our local supermarket here in France is putting solar panels over its large outdoor car park. They have chopped down the trees that were there in order to do so.

  3. It’s not too insane – Lots of new build supermarkets are built above the car park: It saves upon the amount of land you need to buy. It is just lazy, wasteful, and inefficient to not be doing something with your “Air Rights,” so to speak, especially when you consider that a great many open air car parks are as big as the deck of an aircraft carrier, any large building needs to be air conditioned, and the owners are not going to do it themselves because no one has told them to.

    It won’t work in Britain obviously, because it’s too far north. But as someone who has been to places like Arizona, you see vast parking lots that sometimes feature a roof to cover a vehicle over to protect them from damage from heat. Either that or stories of poached children, where the mother went off into the mall and forgot her kid was in the car. It’s a lot of solar energy.

  4. You miss my point. The solar cells might be entirely sensible. It’s the law that’s insane. It’s – the law- either unnecessary or a bad idea.

  5. @MinM: always heartening to hear of a defeat for the pagan worship of trees.

    I’m sympathetic to the suggestion that ancient woodland be preserved: some enterprising souls should set up a system so that people like me can buy a little patch of such woodland and help defend it from vandals (including governments and bloody deer). But a few trees around a carpark: pah! They’ll soon enough be replaced once the panels reach the end of their economic life.

  6. Nah. Nothing to do with ‘climate change’ All to to do with the war on freedom, especially cheap and individual transport.

  7. It is just lazy, wasteful, and inefficient to not be doing something with your “Air Rights,” . . .

    Obviously there needs to be an Air Value Tax.

  8. I suppose it’s m̶a̶r̶g̶i̶n̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶m̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶s̶e̶n̶s̶i̶b̶l̶e marginally less insane than roads made out of solar panels…

  9. French politicians are also examining proposals to build large solar farms on empty land by motorways and railways as well as on farmland.

    1. Infinity immigration from Afrique
    2. Sabotage your own agricultural sector and energy base, simultaneously
    3. Le profit?

  10. I saw an item about a chap in SWcGermany recently. He had an apple orchard that was covered with solar panels.

    The idea is that the panels are quute high up on scaffolding ( it looked about 15 feet, the trees weren’t very tall ). There are gaps between the panels to let the sun and rain through for the trees. He reckoned he still had room underneath for his tractor to shake the apples off.
    I quite liked his enterprise, but I’m not sure that it’ll scale up.

  11. Thank you, Philip. If they will commit themselves to a deerocaust then I’d be interested. But I’m even more interested in the idea of coordinated action by individuals rather than by a charity that will, eventually, succumb to the pressure of the woke or the government. Because all national charities do in the end, don’t they?

  12. Though on the other hand “British trees and shrubs to plant in your garden: 14 native tree ideas”

    Native? British? They’ll get cancelled, won’t they?

  13. I’m just wondering how long it will be before we see a project to power solar panels at night, using sunbeams extracted from cucumbers.

  14. Keep in mind that I don’t agree with this but

    There’s a certain amount of friction that would need to be overcome. Maybe it is profitable to do this but not profitable enough that it’s immediately obvious that you can make money doing it?

    If it’s sufficiently profitable then it’s got enough force to overcome that tendency to not spend money on improvements.

    Side question – how many new 80+ car parks are there in France? How are they going to force the existing ones to put out the money up front for this?

    Most likely the government will steal it from Pierre to pay for it.

  15. “ASM
    November 10, 2022 at 10:09 am”

    1. I live in AZ – the temp in the shade is still 110.

    2. If it made money/reduced bills then they would do it. They don’t sit on their area until told to, these companies are always looking to scrape a fraction of a percent more profit.

  16. CJ: Big mirrors in orbit. It’s probably already been suggested by people who don’t do the back-of-envelope calculation first.

  17. When all 59 of France’s nuke reactors are operating, they can provide 80% of demand (actually they have a much higher capacity); 10% more comes from geothermic and hydro; about 5%+ as needed comes from natural gas and the rest from wind, Sun and wave.

    Macron is renationalising EDF to provide the cash to renew its aging nuclear fleet as he has committed to nuclear energy.

    Piped gas is available only in large towns and cities. Many people in rural areas still use wood burning stoves fir cooking and heating.


    Exactly why does France need a ‘renewable energy drive’?

  18. Exactly why does France need a ‘renewable energy drive’?


    It’s target meeting bullshit that, France being France, will be usefully forgotten.

  19. Just think of your average arable field of solar panels. The roots and stems have to be pretty strong to support all that leaf area against the strongest winds.

    Now add the requirement for the roots and stems to have to support themselves and the leaves at twice the height in order to safely accommodate Nicole and her Renault, plus extra to stand up to pissed-up Papa’s Citroen van being reversed without due care and attention.

    Your supermarket car park suddenly supports far fewer customers – who don’t want to park there because of all the cultural diversity lurking in the shadows.

  20. I live in a country where most supermarkets have outdoor shaded parking.* (You don’t use the one that doesn’t!) As I mentioned in another comments section, they’re also advertising for people to rent their land out for solar farms. So I’m thinking, if they’re not already doing this here, it’s not economically viable without it attracts some sort of subsidy. Or they’d be doing it. So suspect more gravy for the solar industry gravy train.

    *A lot of southern France does as well.

  21. There was a wonderful solar panel moment in the Apprentice in 2014, when Lord Sugar set them to design wearable technology.

    One team decided on a jacket with solar panels on the shoulders, powering a phone charger in the pocket. They spent a day designing it, and sent the design off for a prototype to be made overnight.

    They were gobsmacked when the prototype turned up and the solar panels were visible.

    The video (1m 9s) is hilarious, but if you don’t have time, the hilight is:

    Slopy-shouldered girl, harranguing the others and preparing her defence: “Can the Sun penetrate through the material to the solar panel? Does the solar panel need to be exposed?”

    Commonsense Girl, realisng she’s surrounded by idiots: “Of COURSE it does!”

    Slopy-shouldered girl, pretending (or maybe believing) she’s been let down: “We needed to KNOW that! That was FUNDAMENTAL!”

  22. The law, for a change, actually makes sense.

    And not because of the position our Host has…
    Here in (yes, again…) Clogland we have this stuff going, subsidised or not. And it works, makes ..sense ( for a given value of..) .., and actually relieves stress on the grid.

    But honestly… Can you imagine a Frenchie to get off his/her arse to do anything, unless coerced or subsidised?
    I still have hopes ( against, etc…. ) for the Brits. The French? You have got to be kidding……

  23. Solar panels do not work so well if they overheat. The Arizona sun could power lots of them, possibly economically, if only they could be kept cool.
    If EVs had to tow solar panels behind them, sufficient to provide their running energy consumption, the trailer would be rather large (approx 150m2 for a small hatchback). Instead, railway trucks full of coal keep these ridiculous machines going.
    Apply Occam’s razor – if it looks like a scam, it probably is one.

  24. Tim – Come off it, it strikes me you can take any of these massive expanses of tarmac, baking away, and mandate to the workspaces that you use the sunlight. Or, as a new builder, adding this expense means you do not build the damn thing because it it is wasteful rubbish. (And huge quantities of these building schemes are.) You keep cars cool in the process and you save money by using the energy to air condition the building.

    It’s no good talking about the profit motive to doing this either, you are saving money if you can use all that generated electricity yourself, because it is your land – You’ve paid for that already, hence, use the asset -, and it’s your energy through the circuitry.

    And no one really does this. It’s just lazy and wasteful. You just buy electricity off the grid. Elon Musk missed a trick when he did that stupid thing with sticking solar panels on roof tiles for houses when the real emphasis should have massive car parks and industry.

  25. You’re missing my point. If it’s so great and profitable then why aren’t people doing it anyway? And if they’re not, why not? I’m absolutely fine with folk doing it if it is profitable. So, they have to be forced to do it by law. OK, why is it necessary to force them?

  26. one imagines that from the politician’s point of view, this is “being seen to do something”, and will be highly visible. However, France has little need of more electricity when solar is waxing (midday,summer), they already have a low carbon footprint for electricity, and say they are going to build out more nuclear, so this is likely throwing good money after bad.
    Maybe Macron thinks that it is good optics and that the cost is not so much considering … and he may be right!

  27. Or else what?
    The French CPS will take you to court for losing your own money (or wasting the opportunity to gain it).

  28. Our Host: “You’re missing my point. If it’s so great and profitable then why aren’t people doing it anyway? And if they’re not, why not?”

    “profitable” has many factors. And, let’s be fair, not everyone can see any benefit beyond one’s own comfort.
    And yes. This, too, goes Both Ways. I can quoth a couple of historical gaffes where stuff that’s now seen as absolutely essential was… well… not favourably accepted by the Guilds Masses. For the UK repeat as needed for “Unions”.

    Assuming solar tech has about reached peak practical efficiency, you can plan to use it. And any government would be stupid not to include it into their repertoire *somewhere* .
    And yes, Markets are a Guide, but they don’t dictate what happens in our respective back-yards.

    If anything, this french mandate is scaringly sane in respect of what usually happens there…
    And given their general weather.. and a 80-space parking lot that needs to be shaded most of the year anyway…. and…
    I wonder who has been sleeping at the helm there…. A potentially sane law… in France...
    Next thing you tell me brit politicians are going to agree on a moratorium on backstabbing…..

  29. Our State governments will think it a great idea, and quickly mandate it, forgetting that our shopping centre car parks etc are usually underground. Not that will worry them much.

  30. It’s better than economic; it’s free! (By the Communist definition: they’re making the taxpayer pay for their cronies’ profits.)

    The best bureaucracy (once government acquires the power to protect & promote it) is one that addresses an imaginary emergency. No directly unhappy citizens that you’ve failed to protect, and no time for oversight since you’re saving the world. Of course, it eventually swallows the rest of your government and even society, but who cares when there’s pelf & power to grab?

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