Europe’s largest solar plant, located in Bordeaux, France, will be operational from December 1st, this year. Constructed as part of an initiative by the French government to get ahead in the ongoing clean energy race, this 300 megawatt photovoltaic plant has been successfully connected to country’s electric grid. Given its massive capacity, the project was completed in as many as 25 different parts of 12 MW each.
Over the years, neighbors Germany, Italy and Spain have significantly expanded their photovoltaic markets, with nearly 37.5 GW of electrical power coming from solar energy in Germany alone. In comparison, less than 1-percent (around 5 GW) of France’s total electricity demand is met by solar power. Until recently, the country’s largest PV plant was the government-owned 115 MW Toul-Rosières Solar Park, situated at the former French Air Force base near the city of Toul.
Developed by Paris-based company Neoen, the new 300 MW Cestas solar plant was jointly constructed by Eiffage, Schneider Electric and Krinner. The plant features solar panels supplied by three companies: China-based Yingli and Trina Solar as well as Canadian Solar. Speaking about the project, Patrick de Labrusse, the director of the Cestas consortium, said:
The Cestas project is full erected, the mechanical completion has been achieved since September 30, and now it has been fully connected to the grid. We are very satisfied because the consortium has performed very well and we’ve been able to execute what we anticipated to do at the beginning of the contract. The handover was targeted for early January and we will be able to complete it in late November or in the early days of December.
Once operational, the plant will substantially increase France’s solar power capacity, while also reducing its dependence on environmentally-harmful fossil fuels as well as nuclear power plants.