France will have its first floating solar power plant by 2019

France will have its first floating solar power plant by 2019

/ Renewables / Monday, 24 September 2018 10:57

The renewable energy producer Akuo Energy has announced the start of the construction of the first floating solar power plant in France, which will be installed on the lake of an old quarry in Piolenc in the Vaucluse.

Akuo explains in a statement that with a capacity of 17 megawatts, its 47,000 photovoltaic panels will cover 17 hectares on the surface of the lake and will cover the consumption of more than 4,700 homes. Currently, only a few very small floating solar parks of a few tens of kilowatts have been experienced in France. This plant will be the first of such a significant size.

While floating solar power is already well developed in Asia, particularly in Japan and China, Europe still has no power plant comparable in size to those installed on land.

Floating systems have the advantage of reducing conflicts of use with agriculture for example, which can slow the expansion of solar on land.

According to Eric Scotto, CEO of Akuo Energy, this will be the largest installation in Europe. It must enter into service “around March 2019”.

“The interest of the floating is to offer the possibility of rehabilitating man-degraded spaces, like old quarries flooded, without competition with other uses,” he said.

For its project, Akuo Energy uses the technology developed by the world leader in the sector, the French SME Ciel et Terre, with whom he signed a license agreement for France.

The Piolenc plant was partly financed by crowdfunding, open to people living in the Vaucluse. The town hall of the municipality has also invested in the project.

Electricity will be sold on the market and will benefit from the public supplementary compensation support system to guarantee a minimum price for the energy that will be generated.

Scotto does not want to disclose the cost of the kilowatt hour of the future installation, but defends its “competitiveness” since the project is among the winners of a national solar tender alongside traditional power plants on solid ground.

In addition, the plant will finance the installation of farmers nearby, whose products will be sold in short circuit and will supply school canteens in the surrounding villages.

By selecting the lakes located less than 5 km from a point of connection to the electricity grid, he estimates the potential at 3,000 megawatts in France.

Akuo Energy intends to develop other floating solar projects in the future, both in France and abroad, assured Scotto.

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