Disney is taking concrete action to move towards sustainability and mitigate its environmental impact. As a very large consumer of electricity, they are beginning to utilize renewable energy to power their operations. Many of the parks already use geothermal technology for heating, and more and more are looking to solar to further minimize their reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Disneyland Paris is currently working on installing a 17 MW carport project set to be completed in 2023. This project will consist of around 67,000 solar panels, making it one of the largest solar canopies in Europe.
Covering large parking lots with solar canopies is a great way to maximize the function of a space. Eventually, France will require all parking lots with space for at least 80 vehicles to be entirely covered by solar panels. Additionally, at least half of the area of car parking lots for over 400 vehicles must be covered by solar panels.
Disneyland Paris’s solar canopy will cover 7,000 parking spaces and is expected to generate 31 GWh of electricity per year, equivalent to 17% of the park’s annual electricity consumption. The project will eliminate over 700 tons of CO2 per year. Aside from the obvious energy benefits, the canopy will also serve to protect the underlying vehicles from rain and weather. Finally, to add a bit of Disney magic, a section of the solar panels in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head will be illuminated and visible from the sky at night time.
According to Dr. Mark Penning, the Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts: “This project is another step in our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and part of a global effort to our long-term goals of attaining net zero greenhouse gas emissions and zero waste, while conserving water resources and reversing the decline of wildlife.” Commercial solar allows businesses to save on electricity, reduce their environmental impact, and help the world transition to a decentralized energy economy.