Boralex completes its first floating solar farm in France


FranceBoralex has completed its first floating solar farm in Peyrolles-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône, France.

More than 43,000 photovoltaic panels with a total installed capacity of 12 MWac have been assembled into a 12-hectare island in the “Chapeliers” basin, a former gravel pit undergoing global redevelopment. The site will generate more than 22 GWh per year, which is enough to power 6,400 homes. The project was chosen as part of the French Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE 4) call for tenders for period 7 and thus benefits from a 20-year feed-in premium contract.

The floating solar project is the result of a vision shared by the materials company Durance Granulats and the municipality of Peyrolles-en-Provence to renovate a gravel pit on the Chapeliers site that had reached the end of its operational life. Boralex was approached in 2016 by the Durance Granulats and Peyrolles-en-Provence, who were both interested in opportunities to use the space for energy generation. The company then launched specific studies to define and qualify the environmental, landscape, and technical issues in order to create a project with a long-term technological solution that is simple to implement.

Peyrolles-en-Provence becomes the first Boralex asset to use floating solar technology, allowing an old industrial site’s body of water to be converted into a renewable energy production asset five years after its launch.

Furthermore, the solar facility will be monitored for at least the first three years of operation through a partnership between Boralex and the Institut National de l’Energie Solaire (INES), a world leader in R&D and expertise in solar technologies. As a result, this research will help to improve floating solar technology and allow for the site’s overall performance to be optimized.