In 2019 Parisians can opt to become renewable electricity producers. An innovation made possible in September 2018 with the initiative of EnerCit'IF to set up the very first solar energy cooperative in Paris.
This solar farm is expected to produce 1,400 to 1,900 MWh per year. Equivalent to the electricity consumption of 500 to 600 homes.
Paris city hall’s ambition is to make Paris a model city for the energy transition and fighting global warming. And to achieve it, at the end of 2017 the capital issued its climate action plan: 500 measures applicable in all areas - buildings, waste, energy, etc. - that implement the commitments made by France during COP21. Goal: carbon neutrality.
This means halving its energy consumption and consuming 100% renewable energy by 2050, 20% of which has to be produced locally. And citizens will be involved! The association EnerCit’IF began looking at a previously unexplored idea in Paris: give people the opportunity to become renewable electricity producers by installing photovoltaic panels on the capital’s roofs.
The idea of a solar energy cooperative came up in 2016 during work on the annual participative budget for the Paris city hall, which is responsible for financing projects suggested the Parisians themselves. The success was immediate – people were very enthusiastic, as was the City of Paris, which then handed out a €2 million grant to EnerCit'IF.
To officially launch the project, the association is planning a fundraiser open to all Parisians in early 2019. They can invest in the cooperative from €100 per person - €10 for students and the unemployed.
By becoming members of the cooperative, they make a contribution to purchasing the photovoltaic panels that will be installed on the rooftops of Paris. Their membership also gives them voting rights in the governance of the cooperative.
Electricity produced on the rooftops of Paris
Thanks to the cooperative's funding, EnerCit'IF hopes to install about twenty sites by 2020. They will take their place on the roofs of the capital’s businesses, public housing and public buildings.
In collaboration with the City of Paris the first dozen sites in the 13th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th arrondissements have been identified. The panels will start out small (1.5 to 2 MWh) and increase over the years.
In total, EnerCit'IF estimates that the solar farm will be able to produce between 1,400 and 1,900 MWh per year - the equivalent of the electricity consumption of 500 to 600 homes (excluding heating). The power will then be sold to the sustainable electricity supplier Enercoop for redistribution to its customers.
This for the time being modest goal is nonetheless a symbolic one: the cooperative is the first renewable energy initiative producing elecricity by and for Parisians.
Main picture © Getty Images