French farmers have started thinking beyond agriculture to earn a living. They have grabbed attention with their massive panels put up onto roofs on the sloping farms of the Vosges hills in eastern France. Many financiers are now preferring to invest in these small-scale energy projects rather than the big ones. A collective initiative by a small group of farmers has made it possible to increase farm income and at the same time assists France to meet up with the renewable energy targets.
French government encourages renewable energy:
The French government aims to bring a technological revolution in the field of solar power. The authorities are encouraging the built-in solar panel technology even though wind farming is highly criticized in France. The government’s main objective is to have renewable make up 23 percent of French energy consumption by 2020.
France is profoundly dependent on nuclear plants, whose capacity of 63,260 MW dwarfs the 25 MW of solar power switched to the French grid. According to renewable energy producers’ group SER, the country has already doubled its solar capacity annually and the government’s goal is to multiply this to 5,400 MW by 2020 by tempting homeowners, farmers and businesses with striking tariffs.
Farmer uses integrated solar panels:
A farmer named Westphal with his brother runs a solar panel installed farm on a grand scale. Westphal is taking up new inducement for solar power to enhance his income and help in meeting with France’s renewable energy requirements. The kind of solar panel Westphal is using to generate energy is called “integrated” because the panels are built into the roof rather than put on top. His built-in panels form one of the largest integrated installations of photovoltaic systems, which generate electricity direct from solar power. Westphal convinced Banque Populaire and Credit Agricole, France’s leading lender to farmers to finance his project. He looks forward to generate 2 million euros a year in electricity sales from his solar site.