New legislation introduced in France has decreed rooftops on buildings built in commercial zones must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels.
The ruling is designed to reduce energy consumption as “green” roofs have an insulating effect – and solar panels can generate their own electricity.
The law is more limited in scope than initial calls by environmental activists to make such roofs mandatory on all new buildings after the government convinced activists to limit the scope of the law to commercial buildings.
The regulation was also made less onerous for businesses by requiring only part of the roof to be covered with plants, and giving them the choice of installing solar panels to generate electricity instead.
France is behind other major European countries like Germany, Italy and Spain in solar power development. The country had just over five gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, accounting for around 1% of total energy consumption according to the most recent figures. France is heavily reliant on nuclear power for its energy which accounts for 80% of the country’s output.