Giant solar energy plant opens in France

The site took six months to be constructed, and features 40,000 solar panels

A giant solar energy plant with 40,000 solar panels has opened in southwest France, with the power to provide energy to almost 13,000 people.

The €12 million, 22-hectare Merle Sud centre is in the commune of Saint-Magne, Gironde (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), and took six months to be completed. It officially opened today (Friday October 25).

It is expected to produce 15,060 MWh per year, the equivalent of the energy use of 12,830 inhabitants in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

The project was first proposed in 2010, and the centre’s current form was decided upon after the State called for people to submit ideas in 2016.

It is also a partnership between regional fund Terra Energies, and Total Quadran.

Total Quadran is a subsidiary of energy company Total, and has become one of the major producers of renewable energy in France in the past few years.

The project was also partly crowdfunded by local citizens, with an online fund managing to raise more than €200,000 from 192 investors.

Total Quadran has also signed a deal with a local farmer based in the commune of Cestas, who will be permitted to allow his sheep to graze on the centre’s land to help maintain it.

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