Toward the end of February, we were fortunate enough to travel abroad again, to France to visit family – it was two years to the day since we had seen them, and it was good to catch up.
Whilst there, we took a trip to the local supermarket and saw a significant change from two years ago. Much of the carpark has been covered by a new structure supporting photovoltaic (pv) panels generating electricity.
This rather beautiful structure is elegant, but so functional. And at the time we visited, had no trouble standing up to the storms; it provided protection from the rain for shoppers, but when the sun shone, provided a lovely quality of dappled light beneath – all the time generating electricity.
Too often in the UK we seem to embrace, or compare our culture with the United States, rather than perhaps our closest geographical neighbours. While this might make us feel good about the fuel economy of our own cars compared to the ‘gas guzzlers’, we are missing the vitally important progress being made just across the channel.
It wouldn’t be difficult for our UK supermarkets to adopt this same approach; the space above their numerous carparks is generally free and available for installations such as this. If we could embrace this approach, we could be generating far more electricity at the source at which it is needed.
Whilst the Climate Action Tracker website shows the UK as ‘almost sufficient’ (https://climateactiontracker.org/), the planned end of the manufacture of petrol and diesel cars and vans in the UK from 2030 is already resulting in greater demand for clean, green energy as the use of electric vehicles rises. Installations such as this, make complete sense.