The projects - developed and owned by Photosol, a French renewable energy company - are being constructed in the country’s Auvergne and Midi-Pyrénées regions: three plants, with a total capacity of 37 MW, are located in the communes of Dompierre sur Bresbe, Gennetines and Marmanhac; a fourth facility, with a capacity of 11 MW, is being built in Sarrazac. Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services for all four projects are being provided by Jayme da Costa Energie, a leading French engineering company and a longstanding Photosol partner since 2011.
The plants have been designed to have a minimal impact on the communities and ecosystems they are located in. While three of the facilities are built on pastureland - allowing landowners the additional benefit of being able to graze livestock at the sites - the fourth is sited near an oak forest and includes access for wild animals.
“As France actively promotes the adoption of solar energy, these projects will contribute towards the country’s efforts to diversify its energy mix. We expect these projects to make a significant local impact by providing communities with clean energy and contributing significantly to Europe’s CO2 reduction goals,” said David Guinard, Managing Director of Photosol. “Our choice of First Solar’s thin-film modules was based on a combination of cost-competitiveness, unrivalled bankability, the ability of its modules to reliably deliver solar power and the fact that the technology has the smallest carbon footprint, with the fastest energy payback time.”
Founded in 2008, Paris-based Photosol has developed solar power plants with a total capacity of 63 MW across France and has a project pipeline that exceeds 250 MW. Significantly, the four power plants are the largest ever undertaken by the company and also mark the first time it has partnered with First Solar.
“These projects are an excellent example of how France, like other parts of Europe, can diversify its power generation portfolio and achieve energy security by maximizing the use of available land and leveraging its most abundant energy resource – sunlight. We are proud to have been part of effort and look forward to continuing our partnership with Photosol and First Solar,” said Luis Pedro Marques, Managing Director of Jayme da Costa Energie.
“These projects collectively represent a significant boost to Photosol’s installed capacity as this young, dynamic company continues to build on its successes,” said Stefan Degener, First Solar’s Director of Business Development for Europe. “I would like to thank our partners at Photosol and Jayme da Costa for the trust they’ve placed in us; their decision to use our advanced thin-film modules is testament to the technology’s suitability to utility-scale solar power plants in a wide variety of conditions.”
First Solar has had a full-fledged European presence since 2004, and it continues to be a leading player in the region’s utility-scale PV market. As a result of this deal, the company’s installed capacity in Continental Europe now exceeds 4 GW, equivalent to the electricity generated by approximately four nuclear power plants. Its modules power an estimated 1 million homes across the region, while displacing over 1.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, based on European Union averages, per year.