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French city’s plan to encourage residents to invest in solar panels

A new scheme aims to give locals a return on investment that is higher than the interest rate on the popular French ‘Livret A’ savings account, through energy sales

The city is offering public roofs to local investors, who will receive a return for their money via electricity sales Pic: AlyoshinE / Shutterstock

The city of Lyon is inviting residents to invest in solar panels on 12 public buildings, which it says will give them a return on their investment more profitable than that from France’s popular  ‘Livret A’ savings accounts.

The mayoral office has offered residents 12 roofs and invited willing investors and locals to help finance and build the project. 

Mayoral deputy for ecology, Sylvain Godineau, said that the scheme could have an educational interest as well as an environmental one. 

He told FranceInfo: "These solar roofs will allow us to do educational workshops, to explain to children. It also gives parents the opportunity to invest in the roof if they like the project. It creates a direct link between a child, their family, and the school they go to every day.”

The scheme will rent the roofs to individual or collective investors. They will receive a return on their investment via the sale of the energy produced.

Mr Godineau said that the scheme would be a sort of "citizen investment" that would be “slightly more profitable investment than the Livret A these days”.

The regulated French Livret A savings account will give an interest rate of 3% from February 1.

Read more: The tax-free French savings account open to all with 3% interest rate

Timothée Romier, from the Coopawatt association, said that the initiative was “also a way to take more control over the environmental transition, and create a new link between the production of renewable energy and master its production over the country”. 

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