In 2021, France added 2.57GW of solar capacity. In 2022, the number was similarly high: 2.4GW of grid photovoltaic were deployed, including 743MW from Q4 alone. At the end of December 2022, France came to a total installed photovoltaic capacity of 16.5 GW. 70% of the newly added capacity came from the regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Grand Est and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
Solar energy is continuing to play an important role in France. The French government has even raised the ambition to reach 44.5GW by 2028. Recently, a law was passed in France which makes the coverage with solar panels mandatory for large parking lots. Even offshore floating solar power is starting to be developed. To sum it up, solar power is the future in France. The following three projects are the currently largest solar parks in the country.
1) 1GW solar mega project in the Gironde region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Utility company Engie and French developer Neoen are building the Horizeo solar farm in France. With a solar capacity of 1GW, this mega project will play a huge part in the country reaching its renewable energy goals. Besides the solar site, the farm will also comprise 40MW of battery storage, a 10MW electrolyser to generate green hydrogen as well as a data centre. Taking up 1000 hectares, the solar park will be located in Saucats in the Gironde region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.
Location: Saucats, Gironde region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Developer: Engie, Neoen
2) 300MW solar park near Bordeaux
The 300MW Cestas Solar Park was developed by Neoen. It is located in Cestas near Bordeaux. It produces an annual output of 350 GWh, which is enough to cover the electricity consumption of Bordeaux‘s population. The solar farm has been operational since 2015.
Location: Cestas (near Bordeaux)
3) 115MW solar farm near Nancy
Another place on our list goes to the Toul-Rosières Solar Park. Located in Rosières-en-Haye, it takes up 367 hectares of land. With a capacity of 115MW, it is also a substantial part of France‘s ambitions to add to their cumulative solar capacity. Constructed in 2011, the park has already been in operation since 2012.
Image: American Public Power Association via Unsplash (11.06.2023)