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Floating solar farm plan for lake

Commune creates a test-bed to see how panels work and the effects on wildlife

Floating solar panels are to be set up over a lake in Alsace in what could be the first floating solar farm in the country.

Plans for a much larger ‘parc solaire lacustre’ in Vaucluse have been on the table for eight years but do not seem to have progressed and the plan for Illkirch-Graffenstaden, south of Strasbourg, looks set to be a test-bed.

The commune, which is a pioneer in energy-saving technology, has put its project out to tender.

It will be sited on an artificial pond at Girlenhirsch and the lake is being used as there is not much suitable land in the area and Strasbourg itself does not have suitable roofs to take panels.

The 40,000kWh of power that is expected to be produced will be used to give up to one-third of the consumption of neighbouring properties, which include an animal park and a tennis club.

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Emmanuel Bachmann, the deputy mayor for sustainable development, told 20 Minutes newspaper that as there was a path running alongside the lake it would be ideal to show off the capabilities of solar panels, even in the north of France, and change attitudes.

Another of the aims was to see the effects on wildlife as old quarries and other large water areas were vital for migrating birds, although Mr Bachmann said they did not plan to cover up the whole pond.

The commune has already looked at a much larger site, on an old quarry, for a second floating solar farm – and could even open it up to crowdfunding to help pay the way.

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