TotalEnergies has launched its largest photovoltaic solar power plant in France, a 55-megawatt (MW) facility near Orléans.
The solar farm, located northeast of Gien, comprises 126,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels spread over 75 hectares.
The 55MW facility will produce around 64 GWh per year, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 38,000 people, the group said.
TotalEnergies teams will operate and maintain the plant locally throughout its planned 30-year operating life.
The energy major said the project was informed by a sustainable, “responsible” approach designed to support the development of renewable energies in France. This includes participative financing, with €2.2m (£1.86m) in equity contributed by 212 residents of the Loiret and surrounding areas.
The site also includes measure to encourage and protect biodiversity, including bat shelters and the construction of a pond to promote amphibian reproduction.
The project’s completion closely follows the result of the 10th round of the CRE 4 (French Energy Regulatory Commission) tender, in which 636.7 MW of ground-mounted solar capacity was awarded.
TotalEnergies secured 51 MW of solar capacity in the round. It said its eight winning projects will be commissioned by the end of 2023 and then operated and maintained by TotalEnergies’ teams, whose local workforce is expected to grow.
In the last ten bidding periods, TotalEnergies has won 707 MW of solar projects, placing it second among all developers in France.
The awards form part of the integrated energy major’s push to reach 35 GW of gross production capacity from renewables by 2025, and 100 GW by 2030. Alongside this, it intends to rank among the world’s top five producers of electricity from wind and solar energy.
As of the end of September 2021, TotalEnergies said its gross renewable generation capacity is 10 GW.
Commenting on the opening of the Gien project, TotalEnergies Renewables France CEO, Thierry Muller, said: “TotalEnergies once again confirms its commitment to the development of renewable energies in partnership with the regions. I would like to thank all of the project stakeholders who helped develop our largest solar farm in France.
“This commissioning contributes to France’s energy transition and is a further step towards our goal of reaching 4 GW of renewable generation capacity by 2025. It reinforces our commitment to be a major player in renewable energy in France.”