French President François Hollande inaugurated the 12 megawatt Roc du Doun solar power plant last week in Gros-Chastang, Correze, France. The plant is owned by La Compagnie du Vent, a subsidiary of ENGIE.
The Roc du Doun solar power plant is the Limousin region’s first solar power plant with an installed capacity of 12 megawatts. Located in the municipality of Gros-Chastang, the plant has approximately 37,000 photovoltaic panels that will produce each year close to 16.8 million KWh, the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 7,000 persons.
Through its subsidiary, La Compagnie du Vent, ENGIE has invested €21.5 million (US$23.9 million) for the development of the project, which was designed in partnership with national and local companies.
The Roc du Doun plant utilizes the most efficient and latest photovoltaic technology in the market. Its panels are installed on mobile platforms called “trackers” and track the sun’s movement throughout the day, thereby increasing generated electricity by more than 15% compared with “fixed” installations. The trackers were designed by the Bordeaux-based company Exosun.
SunPower supplied a total of 41 megawatts of its solar panels to La Compagnie du Vent for the construction of four solar power plants under the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy national tender program. The high efficiency SunPower solar panels were manufactured at SunPower’s facility in Toulouse, France.
The first of the four recent La Compagnie du Vent projects for which SunPower supplied panels was the 12-megawatt Langele solar power plant, which is located in France’s Aquitaine Region and was dedicated in late 2014. The other projects included a 12-megawatt project in the Auvergne region and a 5-megawatt project in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region. In 2012, SunPower also worked with La Compagnie du Vent to deliver the 4-megawatt Porette de Nerone solar plant in Aghione, Corsica.
The Roc du Doun solar power plant, which is divided into three parts, marries economic development and respect for the environment in order to bring back a neglected area that has no agricultural or forestry development value.
The plant is integrated into an overall project that includes:
- an agro-environmental management element, mainly to restore a 75-acre soggy area;
- an eco-tourism aspect sponsored by the town of Gros-Chastang; and
- an agricultural development aspect, with sheep grazing on plant grounds.
With this new power plant, ENGIE is now the leader in the solar PV industry in France, with a total gross installed capacity of 383 MW.
In France, the Group is also the leader for onshore wind energy (more than 1,450 MW) and is developing in renewable marine energy with offshore wind projects (Dieppe – Le Tréport, the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier – 1000 MW) and tidal marine power projects underway.
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.