Europe’s largest floating solar plant opens in France

(EurActiv, 18 Oct 2019) The most powerful floating solar PV plant in Europe was inaugurated in southern France on Friday (18 October), marking another milestone in the development of solar energy.

The Rhône valley in southern France is best known for its fine wines and gorgeous food. Now, it can also add solar power to its list of attractions.

The O’MEGA1 project is a 17 megawatt (MW) solar plant situated in Piolenc, a commune in the Vaucluse department, near Orange and Avignon.

The project is unique in several ways. To start with, it is the largest in Europe based on floating solar technology. According to its promoters, the floating structure helps reduce conflicts over land use because it can be installed on drinking water reservoirs, industrial pools, flood plains or quarry lakes.

Citizen energy

But the solar plant also innovates in its local community dimension, with citizens invited to take a stake in the project. Marking a first in France, the plant’s capital was opened to physical people who have a home in the Vaucluse or in neighbouring departments.

“Today, as well as inaugurating Europe’s largest floating solar plant, we are showing that fighting climate change requires a collective effort,” said Eric Scotto, chairman and co-founder of Akuo Energy, the solar PV developer.

“The aim of this approach is to encourage citizens to become involved in the financing of the energy transition using the region’s stakeholders,” Akuo said in a statement.

External link

EurActiv, 18 Oct 2019: Europe’s largest floating solar plant opens in France