It’s one of the most amazing things to consider, yet we often gloss over it:
- Countless years ago, humans learned how to make fire.
- Ever since then, we’ve been burning stuff for energy (for heat initially, and more recently for electricity and to propel vehicles forward).
- At long last, we are in an era where we can stop burning stuff.
- We can now create electricity by capturing sunlight and wind, and we can power our cars and trucks with that same electricity.
I believe it was Desmond Wheatley — founder, president, and CEO of Beam Global (formerly Envision Solar) — who first tipped me off to looking at this tremendous, unprecedented transition in this way. Beam Global produces various types of solar-powered EV charging stations.
What’s all of this got to do with France, and France’s new climate law in particular? Well, France has just announced in this climate bill that 30% of the surface of new commercial and industrial buildings will have to be solarized starting on January 1, 2023 — a year and a half from now. Those solar panels will power a lot of electric vehicles, but they won’t be the only ones in a wave of new solar power capacity. Parking areas that surpass 500m² will have to solarize at least 50% of their surface area starting on January 1, 2024. That’s not the end, though. If there are carports, then the requirement is that 100% of the surface area be solarized.
These buildings and parking areas will begin more seriously moving the country into the cleantech era of not-burning-stuff. Meanwhile, in June, 16% of new automobile sales in France were smart plugin vehicle sales. Electric vehicle adoption will keep growing. Eventually, perhaps millions of French drivers will be happily driving electric cars powered by sunshine generated from the roofs of these buildings.
Solar permits are supposed to be streamlined as well, according to the new law, allowing solar power projects to more quickly be put on top of landfills and in coastal areas.