EDF’s 20MWp floating solar plant in France (Courtesy of EDF/Photo by Rémi Flament)

EDF opens 20MWp floating solar power plant in France

The EDF Group has opened the Lazer floating solar power plant, the first facility of its type to be constructed in France by subsidiary EDF Renewables, and the first to combine solar and hydroelectric power generation at a single site.

EDF’s 20MWp floating solar plant in France (Courtesy of EDF/Photo by Rémi Flament)

Installed on the reservoir at the Lazer dam hydro power plant, operated by EDF, the new facility doubles the site’s capacity for renewable electricity generation.

The Lazer floating solar power plant comprises over 50,000 solar panels, with a total installed capacity of 20MWp.

By supplying sufficient electricity to meet the annual consumption needs of 12,500 people, the facility will help France to meet its target of 100GW of solar energy capacity by 2050, according to the company.

The solar power plant complements the hydro power scheme, particularly in the summer months, by continuing to supply electricity when the water from the Lazer reservoir is used primarily for crop irrigation.

The facility’s anchor and float systems allow it to adapt to variations in the reservoir water level, with no impact on its operation.

Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group’s senior executive vice president for renewable energies, said: “We are proud to open the Lazer floating solar power plant. The new facility provides a perfect illustration of the complementary nature of the EDF Group’s expertise and our capacity for innovation.

“To achieve this first for France, EDF Renewables drew on the expertise it has developed at international level, with four floating solar power plants already constructed in Israel and the USA. By combining two sources of renewable electricity generation at a single site, this project will help France meet its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.”

Launched in 2017, the project was selected as a winning candidate in the call for proposals by the French Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission de la Régulation de l’Energie) in 2018.

A participatory financing campaign was successfully launched in 2021, allowing the local population to invest a total of €179,000.

Construction of the solar power plant itself began in 2021, with the performance of geotechnical studies and the placement of the anchors.

The photovoltaic panels were then assembled on their floats, launched onto the water in groups – known as ‘islets’ – and towed by boat to their final location. The floating solar power plant has a scheduled operating lifetime of around 30 years.

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