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Green news France: 5% return on solar, recycled Route du Rhum boat

Locals invest in solar park with guaranteed returns, sailor used eco-boat to complete Route du Rhum, Toulouse tower on hold

€850,000 raised from locals for giant Haute-Loire solar park; abandoned boat recycled for Rum Route; legal challenge for 38-storey Toulouse skyscraper plan Pic: savanterpro / WorldPictures / Compagnie de Phalsbourg

Savers get a 5% return on investment    

A gigantic solar power (photovoltaïque) park called La Clé des champs (The key of the fields), has opened in the town of Saint-Christophe-sur-Dolaison, Haute-Loire, with many local residents investing in its construction.

In order to attract them, a return on investment of 5% was guaranteed, and the subscriber target was soon reached. 

“The subscription was completed in a couple of weeks,” said François Palmier, project manager. “We raised €850,000 in the local area.” 

This was around 40% of the capital required to get the project under way.

In total, just over 150 eco-investors from the wider Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region invested, 48% of whom live in the Haute-Loire department,

“This project is a response to the energy crisis and allows us to inject energy that can quickly be put into service on the power grid. 

“Annually, this park will contribute 10% of the energy needs of the agglomeration of Puy-en-Velay, or the equivalent of the energy consumption of about 5,600 French households per year,” M. Palmier added.

Read more: Easy-fit French solar panels could cut electricity bill by €30 a month

Route du Rhum sailing boat is recycled

One of the participants at this year’s Route du Rhum single-handed sailing race between Saint Malo in Brittany and Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe, took part using a completely reconditioned, ecologically crafted boat called Use it Again!.

Romain Pilliard, competing in the race – which takes place every four years, with the current record standing at seven and a half days – for the second time, said before the race began that his intention was never to win: “I’m not looking for first place, which has a high ecological cost,” he told Francetvinfo.

The boat is the former trimaran of English sailor Ellen MacArthur. 

“This boat was unfortunately abandoned for a few years and we decided to give it a second life,” he explained.

The boat has three means of producing green electricity: solar panels, a wind turbine and a hydro generator, plus a wind generator, also reconditioned.

Read more: French firm’s solar panel sails let yachts produce their own power

Energy-saving school rewarded 

A school in Yonne, Burgundy has been awarded a national trophy for its energy savings over the last five years, with pupils, teachers and ancillary staff all playing their part. 

Among their top tips for saving water was to have canteen staff install a barrel to collect the water left at the table in carafes. This water was then used to give the school chickens a drink or to water its green spaces.

The school took initiatives via the Energic application, a nationwide campaign to encourage workplaces, schools and individuals to make ecological steps in their daily lives.

Toulouse tower still on the drawing board 

Residents in Toulouse are not holding their breath in anticipation of the proposed La Tour Occitanie skyscraper (called a gratte-ciel in French) being built any time soon. 

Compagnie de Phalsbourg won the tender to build the 38-storey, 153-metre-high tower on the city’s former postal sorting site, right next to Toulouse-Matabiau SNCF station, and Toulouse City Council issued a building permit in July 2019. 

However, ongoing legal appeals by opponents of the project, including local residents and ecological associations, mean that any decision regarding its go-ahead will not be made until the end of next summer at the earliest.

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