The energy transition is emerging as a key sector to achieve the ecological and economic objectives that society expects. It is now a question of applying known, effective and socially accepted solutions. The recent legislative provisions concerning photovoltaic roofs are a good example.
GWp of solar power by 2028. Carbon neutrality of our energies by 2050. All these ambitious and necessary objectives have been followed for more than 15 years, without necessarily finding their applications in the economy and industry. The time has come for concrete, effective and pragmatic actions to accompany the declarations of intent which have only too slowly been followed up with facts. The recent health crisis has pushed the political and industrial world to position themselves on these subjects, and the future European Greendeal must be the main driving force. Photovoltaics are at the forefront of meeting this ambition for a cleaner, more sustainable and more resilient society.
If the solar industry has experienced a particularly erratic course, depending on regulatory changes, if the 2008 moratorium marked players and minds with a hot iron and put a devastating brake on the entire sector, the recent developments spurred by legislators are likely to offer this industrial sector the quantified and concrete prospects necessary for its growth.
The “Quick Wins” of the energy transition: the example of photovoltaic roofs
The latest one is part of the Climate Energy Law (LTECV) and could mark the passage of a new speed in the race initiated by the Solar to achieve the objectives set by the Pluriannual Energy Programming, the National Low Carbon Strategy and all the other governmental or European roadmaps validated in the last decade. These new methods are not meant to be cosmetic, because they permanently link the development of solar production to the construction sector in France.
From now on, any building of more than 1000m² subject to a commercial exploitation authorization must be equipped with a minimum of 30% of its surface in solar panels, or with a green roof. This second possibility does not offer any income, however, unlike its photovoltaic alternative. This ambitious measure can change the face of solar energy in France, and bring its industrialization to a new scale.
In fact, more than 40 million m² of non-residential premises are built per year in France ( SOeS , 2017), i.e. an area available for photovoltaics of more than 2.5GWp per year, while respecting the criteria of the LTECV. On logistics buildings of more than 5000m², capable of supporting the most efficient photovoltaic projects, 78 million m² are already available ( SOeS , 2020), i.e. between 4.7GWp and 7GWp, and all this without capturing an additional m² of land. This available resource could be supplemented in a very complementary way by the development of parking shades, often adjacent to logistics or commercial areas. The objectives of the PPE, up to 40 GWp to be installed by 2028, are therefore partly within reach!
Far from being anecdotal, this new paradigm of the construction sector reveals its greatest strength in its very principle: above our heads, out of sight, its societal acceptance, at a time of outcry against farms wind turbines and PV, is obvious! The environmental impact of such projects is therefore neutral, and often positive, with the production of carbon-free electricity, without any additional artificialisation of the land, without any impact on the surrounding flora and fauna, without visual pollution for the environment. surrounding population.
This appropriation must however be done with the support of the legislator, which must provide a favorable framework to allow the construction sector to develop these projects without dangerously increasing the price of buildings. The measures already initiated on the exemption of TICFE for self-consumption or the reduction of the IFER are going in the right direction, but must go further to allow the sector to accelerate its development: capacity of third-party investors to sell electricity for self-consumption, injection of all or part of the electricity produced into the network …
Likewise, after having healed the wounds of the risky and disaster-stricken development of photovoltaics in the 2000s, the insurance sector will also be a major player in the now mandatory development of these photovoltaic roofs, and will have to encourage the technical advances that will accompany the development of solar roofing.
Finally, one of the priorities will remain to guarantee in the years to come the fair remuneration of the sale of the electricity produced by this new regulatory obligation, in order to avoid a new brake on the whole sector, and thereby to respect the commitments that we have collectively set ourselves to green our energies.
The original article was written by Clément Blaizot – Key Account Development Manager and Strategic Partnerships at Technique Solaire