This town is going to cover its cemetery with solar canopies

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The residents of Saint-Joachim in Pays de la Loire, France, are putting solar canopies over their cemetery.

A cemetery shaded by solar

The 1.3-megawatt (MW) solar canopy will cover the Saint-Joachim cemetery and supply electricity to the commune’s 4,000 residents from the summer of 2025.

What’s neat about this project is that it will do more than generate clean energy and provide shade. It will also collect rainwater for a nearby sports complex, which will help prevent flooding in the marshy cemetery. That’s because the commune of Saint-Joachim is in the center of the Brière marsh.

French associations Brier’energie and RECIT are spearheading the project. Éric Boquaire, the president of Brier’energie, told pv magazine France that the 8,000-square-meter (86,111-square-foot) canopy will consist of 5,000 solar panels.

Since it’s a “collective self-consumption” project, residents are paying €5 ($5.20) to buy in. However, the cemetery’s solar canopy will equitably share the electricity produced with all consumers. It’s also supported by the Fondation de France, a government agency that fosters the growth of private philanthropy and private foundations.

The municipality will fully finance the €3.35 million ($3.6 million) installation.

Electrek’s Take

This grassroots project is pretty groundbreaking. Cemeteries are often sacred, so solar canopies over them would require buy-in from invested parties, as is the case in Saint-Joaquim.

I personally think this project is innovative. What do you think of cemeteries hosting solar canopies? A sensible use of space, or a step too far? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more: New York City opens 8,500 acres of parking lots to solar canopies


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