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Near Lyon, a car park transformed into a solar park

This is a first in France on this scale. Neoen, the French producer of renewable electricity inaugurated Tuesday, April 9, a new solar park, installed on a parking of a dozen hectares in Corbas in the suburbs of Lyon. The site belongs to Groupe Charles André logistician (GCA) who stores new vehicles sent by train by the manufacturers before delivering them to the dealers.

A dual function

A total of 37,620 solar panels were installed on 61 shadehouses, for an expected annual production of 19,500 MWh, equivalent to the electricity consumption of 8,800 inhabitants. But besides the provision of green energy, the installation will also protect the 4,600 vehicles that are stored there from bad weather. A 70 000 m2 anti-hail net was installed.

With Neoen, the wind and the sun go public

The project represents an investment of 19.1 million euros, of which 1.2 million euros were provided by some 50 individuals, via crowdfunding organized on three platforms.

Everyone finds his account

" One of the original features of this park is the optimization of the land, with the implementation of high-yield panels, which ensures a production of one megawatt hour per hectare, double what is usually done. This shows that we can build solar parks by managing space better ", Says Xavier Barbaro, the CEO of Neoen.

The group created by the businessman Jacques Veyrat, is a regular of this kind of performances. In 2015, it commissioned the solar park Cestas (Gironde) which is still the largest in France, with more than a million panels. Last year in Australia, he installed the world's largest storage facility with 100-megawatt lithium-ion batteries.

With this project, GCA hosts its fifth solar power plant, covering 90 hectares, the surface of its sites occupied by photovoltaic. " In the logistics business, margins are very low and the rental of our sites allows us to generate additional revenues "explains Delphine André, president of GCA and granddaughter of the founder. She also stressed the need for her group to reduce its carbon footprint. " This kind of project is very appreciated by our customers ", she says.

In Cestas, opening of the most powerful solar power station in Europe

Find land

The search for location is today one of the main challenges facing developers of wind and solar projects, which also often face opposition from local residents. But in Corbas, the problem is different because it is an industrial site already occupied. " More and more companies are interested in this kind of project, especially in the prospects of self-consumption of electricity produced. Says Xavier Barbaro.

The use of wasteland is also a development track for operators. The Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) is pushing for this direction, with large power plants to accelerate cost reductions.

At the end of March, Neoen launched the construction of a photovoltaic park at Remiremont (Haute-Garonne) on a former gravel pit belonging to the Colas group, which he has exploited for more than twenty years. Sheep will even ensure the natural maintenance of the site, preventing the grass from hiding the panels.

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