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New energies 06/08/2020

Solar Panels For All!

There’s no doubt that the focus of the solar power industry is on cutting-edge technology. But that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive or hard to access. Indeed, the boom in photovoltaics has made solar energy more accessible to the public than ever — especially in France. Thanks to such en masse projects cropping up throughout the country, factories and families alike can now commit to this carbon-free alternative, working in the long term to save both money and the planet. 

Here are three French and European initiatives that allow individuals to make the switch to solar power: 

IKEA shines

The iconic Swedish company that revolutionized interior design for the masses is once again on the forefront of home improvement. Partnering with the French solar panel installation company Voltalia, IKEA plans to begin selling solar panels in select stores in the fall and scaling the product up to its other French outlets by the end of the year. Not only has France seen a boom in eco-conscious shopping since the quarantine period, but the government also offers subsidies for homes that switch to solar. Capitalizing on this trend, IKEA will roll out a “two-for-one” offer, dubbed Solstråle, that includes both the solar panel and its installation. Prices for this offer will vary widely, as the installation process differs depending on the home. 

Monsieur Musk

In 2016, Elon Musk announced his plans for his first photovoltaic tiles to be sold in Europe. Now, four years later, the South African-born American tech leader revealed in a tweet that his product, Solar Roof, is expected to hit the European market sometime in 2020. According to French media Futura, customers can already reserve their roofs — which feed their own electric battery — via an online portal. Coming in four styles, the product promises a 25-year guarantee for longevity and performance. A quality test video shows the Solar Roof’s superior resistance strength as opposed to traditional panels. It is estimated to cost around $33,950 to outfit a standard American roof with the product.

Eco-homes from scratch

The Paris-based start-up Solaire Box specializes in single-family homes, complete with sustainable wood frames and solar roofs. The houses, which take four to eight weeks to complete, are built with local Douglas fir trees that naturally change color as they age, and photovoltaic panels constructed in Nantes by Systovi — one of the few European solar panel manufacturers. Systovi relies on monocrystalline technology to create nontoxic, recyclable roofs that will not pollute in the case of a house fire and can be melted down and reused to create new panels. The panels can also produce twice as much energy as the homeowner needs, allowing the extra power to be stored in batteries or sold to a local grid, a process managed by the company. 

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