Akuo, an independent global renewable energy producer and developer and a floating solar pioneer in France, has commissioned a new floating solar power plant in Cintegabelle, near Toulouse in southern France.
Cintegabelle is the second Akuo floating solar plant to become operational, following the O’MEGA1 plant (17 MWp) in October 2019 in Piolenc (Vaucluse, southern France) whose output was expanded to 22 MWp during the summer of 2022. With a capacity of 8.7 MWp, the Cintegabelle plant is located on Cap Vert lake on the southern edge of the village, a 19 ha. manmade lake created when a gravel quarry ceased operations. Floating solar technology has made it possible to rehabilitate the area by adding solar electricity production to its previous functions as a reservoir and fishing area.
The new floating photovoltaic power plant provides local and decentralised renewable energy to more than 2000 homes, thus avoiding over 1000 tpy of carbon dioxide emissions. It is thus contributing to Occitania’s objectives, with this region intending to quadruple its photovoltaic production by 2030 and become Europe’s leading positive energy region by 2050.
The commissioning of the Cintegabelle floating solar plant was made possible by financing from Arkea Banque Entreprises & Institutionnels, Caisse d’Epargne Aquitaine Poitou Charentes and its financial engineering subsidiary, Hélia Conseil, the Energy MAIF Transition fund, as well as electricity supplier Octopus Energy (formerly Plüm Energie), with whom Akuo has signed a power purchase agreement. This forward power purchase contract commits the electricity supplier to purchasing the electricity produced by Akuo at the Cintegabelle plant over the long term (20 years) at a specified price.
The floating solar facilities also present environmental benefits. Indeed, by covering part of the lake’s surface, the panels help reduce natural evaporation. A hedge comprising sever-al species limiting the power plant’s visual impact from Espalmade lane (the road running alongside the lake and into the middle of the village) has been planted to ensure the site’s landscape aspect. The lake’s fishing vocation has been maintained and the site continues to be accessible to the public. The site’s fauna and flora will also be continuously monitored throughout the solar plant’s lifecycle. Lastly, an educational trail is currently being created. In this same education perspective, the village’s youth department and the activity centre have been involved in the creation of didactic signs (currently being installed).
The plant will be inaugurated in September. The Akuo Group is continuing to accelerate its activity in the field of floating solar, as a third floating solar power plant will come online in Gouts (Landes, southwest France) this autumn.
For more news and technical articles from the global renewable industry, read the latest issue of Energy Global magazine.
The Spring 2023 issue of Energy Global hosts an array of technical articles focusing on offshore wind, solar technology, energy storage, green hydrogen, waste-to-energy, and more. This issue also features a regional report on commodity challenges facing Asia’s energy transition.
Read the article online at: https://www.energyglobal.com/solar/06062023/akuo-turns-on-cintegabelle-floating-solar-plant/
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