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Paris to trial solar parasols in public spaces

The city of Paris will trial an innovative solar “parasol” to provide shelter and heating, and reduce pollution, in outdoor areas.

As smoking has been banned inside Parisian restaurants, the Guardian reports, more and more patrons have been venturing outdoors, but the law has come to impact the thousands of cafes and restaurants in the city.

“In the summer it’s OK, but in the winter it’s cold and you have to provide heating for the guests,” Georges-Etienne Faure, an advisor to Paris’ deputy mayor Jean-Louis Missika, told the Guardian. “But it’s crazy to heat the outside.”

Credit: Amorphica

Credit: Amorphica

Currently some cafes use conventional gas heaters, which use energy and emit polluting carbon dioxide. The deputy mayor put out a challenge to provide an environmentally-friendly outdoor heating solution – and the winner was U.S. company Amorphica with their “Urban Parasol.”

The modular canopy provides cover from rain or snow, and uses solar panels to provide heat. The Urban Parasol is an energy-efficient alternative to outdoor gas heaters, which are also being banned in some areas.

“It harnesses and efficiently utilises renewable energy,” Amorphica spokeswoman Leemor Chandally told the Guardian.

“And it integrates path-tracking and responsive solar panels, thermodynamic solar panels and space blanket insulation,” she said. “Light sensors allow the parasol to accurately follow the sun’s natural path and therefore maximise energy absorption, and heating and LED-lighting activation is controlled using sensors to avoid any waste of energy.”

But the Urban Parasol isn’t just for cafes; it can be attached to public structures, like bus stops, to provide shelter and warmth in cold weather. Paris will be the first city to implement the Urban Parasol.


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