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Disneyland Paris to build one of Europe’s largest solar canopy plants

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Disneyland Paris has confirmed details surrounding the solar power plant that the company announced earlier this year, with the resort confirming it will be one of Europe’s largest solar canopy plants.

Instead of constructing a traditional solar power plant, the resort intends to leverage its large car park to provide power to the two theme parks and eight resort hotels. It will install solar canopies above car parking spaces that will offer a dual purpose – providing shade for the parked cars, while also generating power. 

Construction on the solar canopies officially began in July and are expected to be fully operational by 2023. The canopies are being installed in collaboration with French company Urbasolar and will encompass 42 acres using 67,500 solar panels. 

When fully operational, the solar canopies will produce 31GWh of electricity each year, which is technically enough clean energy to account for 17% of the resort’s total electricity consumption, although given the power is going to the grid, it won’t solely be powering Disneyland Paris. 

In typical Disney fashion, the solar canopies are set to be used as a design centrepiece, with a section set to light up at night in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head, visible only from the sky. This is similar to the Mickey Mouse-shaped solar plant at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. 

Disneyland Paris says that the installation of the solar canopies above the main guest park will contribute to the reduction of Val d’Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 750 tons of CO2 per year. 

“Environmental innovation and stewardship are a tradition that began with Walt Disney himself, and this ambitious solar power project is the latest in our commitment to the environment at Disneyland Paris,” said Natacha Rafalski, president of Disneyland Paris.

“It is our responsibility as a business and leading tourist destination to contribute to the long-term sustainability of our resort and the region through environmentally responsible practices.”

“This power plant is an unprecedented project in Europe from a major company like Disneyland Paris,” said Stéphanie Andrieu, CEO of Urbasolar, and Arnaud Mine, president of Urbasolar. 

“It will be a fully tailor-made project, integrated into Urbasolar’s strategy of innovation on system monitoring and on-site energy management. We are thrilled to be part of this project.”

The project will also contribute to Disneyland Paris’ environmental strategy, aiming for a significant reduction in GHG emissions and a full decarbonisation of its energy supply.

Geothermal energy already feeds both Disneyland Paris Parks and the Disneyland Hotel as a result of an innovative plant located at Villages Nature Paris. It uses naturally occurring underground heat and steam to help cover the heating needs for sanitary hot water and heating systems of the facilities.

Since 2018, Disneyland Paris Hotels have also been participating in the Affichage Environnemental initiative officially supported by the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Agence of Ecological transition (ADEME).

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