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Technicités training session - February 2010

Technicités training session - February 2010

On the 2nd of February 2010, a workshop was held within a training session on solar energy organized by the French magazine “Technicités” (www.technicites.fr) specialized in environmental issues for local authorities.

1. Methodology to develop solar energy in urban environment and best practices

The 4 different approach to develop solar urbanism in a city have been presented :
-  Policy and legislation
-  Identification of potential
-  Mobilization of potential
-  Town planning

Policy and legislation

All participants agreed that the national policies aiming to develop solar energy do not always reflect the local needs. Therefore, a local strategy and policy is needed. Many cities described the subsidies systems implemented on their territory for solar thermal energy. As PV has an interesting feed-in tariff, there is no need for more subsidies for most of the projects. However, some local authorities have implemented call for proposal for efficient building construction including PV systems.

Town and cities are allowed to produce electricity and sell it within the feed-in tariff program, but “departments” and “regions” local authorities cannot be energy producers (article L. 2224-32 of the “Code Général des Collectivités Territoriales”). Therefore, there is a quick need to change national legislation. The new environmental law named commonly “Grenelle 2” will be voted by the parliament in June 2010 and one of its rule is to offer the possibility for every energy consumer to be a renewable energy producer.

Identification of potential

Following the adoption of the first law of the “Grenelle de l’environnement”, all the local authorities were stressed to set up local renewable energy development scheme. Within this framework, at the region level, studies on potential identification and development possibilities have been set up. However, those studies were done at a large scale and could not be used by final users such at the house and building level.

Mobilization of potential

A city is generally the owner of many buildings where a big potential of renewable energy production systems can be mobilized. The city of Chambery for example implemented in 2004 a 100 kWp PV system on one of its buildings. But the investment capacity of public authorities is usually very restricted. Therefore, it is important to build up other investment models to mobilize the potential like the roof leasing. This kind of investment model is being developed in many cities and most of the participants representing different French local authorities are regularly contacted by private investors proposing a leasing contract to install a PV system on their roof.

Another investment model can also be developed : the jointly owned PV system model.

Town planning

Acting on the urban planning of a new or existing district is one of the best way to insure that sustainable development is guarantied for a long period (lifetime of an urban area). Many cities are working on the set up of their own “EcoDistrict”, but most of the specifications that are given to the promoters are very loosely enforced in terms of energy consumption and most of urban planners have a lack of experiences in urban design. All participants agreed on the fact that there is a need of awareness and training for urban planners on these aspects.

Download the French workshop minutes

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