Inauguration of the first floating power plant in Pays de la Loire

The 5 MWp solar power plant was inaugurated today by the renewable energy producer Urbasolar and the municipality of Noyant-Villages. An iconic and innovative project combining ground-based and floating photovoltaic technology, it also demonstrates the commitment of local stakeholders to the energy transition.

The Noyant-Villages power plant was inaugurated today in the presence of Adrien Denis, Mayor of Noyant-Villages, Philippe Chalopin, President of the Combined Municipalities of Baugeois-Vallée, Paul Keurinck, General Manager of Urbasolar Development and Acquisitions, Senators Emmanuel Capus and Stéphane Piednoir and Anne-Laure Blin, MP, as well as many elected officials and employees of Urbasolar.

Two photovoltaic technologies

Where the rows of solar panels now stand was a former shelly-sand quarry operated from the mid-1990s until 2013. Partially restored in the form of a body of water, this degraded plot of land could not be put to any use. The owner of the land, with the constant support of the local authorities, therefore seized the opportunity to transform it into a source of renewable energy production for the region.

As an expert in photovoltaics and a committed partner, alongside local stakeholders, the Urbasolar group was chosen by the municipality to develop, build and operate the two structures.  The site, which covers almost 9 hectares, combines ground-based and floating technology for a cumulative power output of 5 MWp. This innovative project is also the first floating power plant in the Pays de la Loire region. Each year, the plant will produce the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 2,800 people, or nearly 50% of the municipality of Noyant-Villages.

Integration into the landscape is a major issue

Urbasolar pays particular attention to ensuring its solar power plants integrate well into their local environment and preserve the natural ecology of each site.

In fact, the department of Maine-et-Loire is very rich in heritage buildings; as the power plant is located within the perimeter of the Château de Launay-Baffert, a historical monument, the group has planned to fit natural wood cladding to the technical buildings and build fences made of wood and steel. These quality developments will then integrate better into their surroundings.

As for biodiversity, entire sectors have been set aside within a fenced reserve, allowing for the natural development of habitats. So, one contiguous piece of land covering more than 20,000 m² along the entire waterline has been left undeveloped in order to maintain the wooded shoreline and an area identified as being favorable to birds. Nature has already reclaimed its rightful place as the floating plant regularly hosts birds nests on its floats.
Finally, refuges made of dead wood, also called hibernacula, have been created on the north shore of the lake in order to promote the development of reptiles and amphibians.

The inauguration of this ground-based and floating structure thus highlights the willingness of the municipality of Noyant-Villages and the Baugeois Vallées Combined Municipalities to engage with renewable energy. This major first for the region also demonstrates the technological and environmental know-how of the Urbasolar Group.

Noyant-Villages floating and ground-based solar power plant – Photo Credit: © Hubert d’Oysonville/Urbasolar