France opens EU’s biggest solar farm

Panels cover a region larger than Monaco and produce the same amount of electricity as Bordeaux uses

Panels cover a region larger than Monaco and produce the same amount of electricity as Bordeaux uses in a year

FRANCE has opened the largest solar farm in Europe, producing enough electricity to power a city the size of Bordeaux.

The 260 hectare park, situated at Cestas in the Gironde, is slightly larger than the principality of Monaco, and has the same power as an old coal power station.

It cost €360million and has been built by the independent renewable electricity producer Neoen. The company’s director general said that the work had been completed on time and in budget.

Le Figaro compared the project to France’s latest nuclear reactor EPR nuclear reactor under construction in Flamanville whose budget has risen from €3.3billion to €10.5bn and is currently due to start production six years late, in 2018.

Also by comparison, the price of electricity from the solar park is set at €105 per megawatt hour for the first 20 years, compared to €114MWh for the EPR reactor. (Wind power is typically around €80MWh).

The panels were manufactured by three different factories in China and installed by Schneider Electric, a subsidiary of the construction group Eiffage who fitted 15,000 panels a day to complete the project.

Mr Barbaro said that no producer in France was able to make the numbers of panels needed for the project.

The site has 680km of underground cable, 3,700km of solar cable and 116km of high tension cable.

More than 16,500 metal support tables and 3,826 fuse boxes were fitted.
Photo: Flickr/Ol.v!er [H2vPk]

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