Located in the municipality of Coulonges-Thouarsais, the solar power plant inaugurated today testifies to the successful partnership between the Urbasolar group, a renewable electricity producer, and Séolis PROD, a company of the SIEDS group and independent developer and operator of renewable energy facilities. This project is a response to the challenges of the energy transition and is part of an environmental regeneration program for part of the La Loge waste storage site run by the Deux-Sèvres joint association for waste treatment and disposal (SMITED 79).
In the presence of Catherine Lam Tan Hing-Labussiere, sub-prefect of Bressuire, Gilbert Favreau, senator for Deux-Sèvres, Sébastien Rochard, mayor of Coulonges-Thouarsais, Bernard Paineau, chairman of the Thouarsais community of municipalities CCT, Olivier Fouillet, vice-president and departmental councilor of the canton of Val-de-Thouet, Yves Chouteau, Chairman of SMITED 79, Roland Motard, Chairman of SIEDS, Catherine Cousinard, Managing Director of Séolis PROD, Antoine Millioud, CEO of Urbasolar.
Sustainable rehabilitation of a waste storage facility
The La Loge site is made up of three zones: Loge 1, 2 and 3, of which the second and third are still in operation, Loge 2 as a non-hazardous waste storage facility, and Loge 3 as a waste transfer center.
By building this solar power plant, the Urbasolar Group and Séolis PROD, co-investors in the project, gave La Loge 1 and 3 a second lease of life, as their degraded land was no longer usable for waste storage, and is now contributing to renewable energy production in the territory.
The 5 MWp solar power plant benefited from the full extent of Urbasolar’s technical expertise, in particular Loge 1 where rows of solar panels are inserted between the pipes of the biogas network.
The solar energy farm will produce over 5,900 MWh each year, the equivalent of the electricity consumption of around 2,700 people.
Exemplary landscape integration
Urbasolar and Séolis PROD are highly committed to safeguarding the environment, and have paid particular attention to integrating the structure into the landscape to preserve the site’s biodiversity. Also, a number of measures that protect fauna and flora have been put in place on Loge 1 and 3.
The ponds and water bodies present on the site will also be preserved and runs for small wild animals will be installed. In the trees, bat shelters have been installed to safeguard their habitat.
The Loge 3 park will be maintained by the sheep belonging to a local shepherd. As such, the plant has been equipped with drinking troughs and a holding yard. The table configuration has been adapted to allow animals to move through them.
Finally, a hedge has been installed along the access road to the site so that the solar power plant blends harmoniously into its environment.
This inauguration also marks the second collaboration between Urbasolar and Séolis PROD, whose skills have already been pooled for the construction of the TIPER 2&4 solar power plant in Thouars. A partnership that testifies to Séolis PROD’s ambition to take part concretely in the objectives of the energy transition in the territory by developing renewable energy projects, and that of the Urbasolar group to be a technical partner over the long term.
“This project is a new opportunity for Séolis PROD and Urbasolar to combine their respective skills and expertise in the interests of developing renewable energy in our region, in a spirit of sustainable local development. Our organization, SIEDS, has always been involved in the energy transition and supports our approach and encourages our way of developing energy sources with and for regional communities. Fully committed to preserving the environment, we develop our projects in concert with all stakeholders and always aim to protect biodiversity to the fullest extent possible. We apply the same rigor to all of our projects and this is why we are currently producing half of all our RE capacity in the Deux-Sèvres region. With this experience behind us and climate challenges facing us, our ambition is to double our production capacity by 2030. ” Remy Viaud, Director of Production – Séolis PROD
“The Coulonges Thouarsais project perfectly illustrates the relationship that the Urbasolar Group strives to develop with its partners. We are pleased to see this second solar energy project with Séolis PROD that testifies to the successful pooling of skillsets of both groups, with Séolis PROD as the local player and Urbasolar as the solar energy expert. We share this strong ambition to develop renewable energy projects in the region and are very proud to see the result with the creation of two highly energy-efficient structures. The Group sees photovoltaics as one of the sustainable solutions allowing the production of more virtuous energy for our planet but also providing opportunities to protect biodiversity through the environmental measures that accompany all the solar power plants that we build. ” Antoine Millioud, CEO Groupe Urbasolar
“This project, which has been maturing for at least six years, came in well ahead of the change in the law to accelerate the production of renewable energy that is currently being implemented. I wasn’t here at the time. The elected representatives of the time had felt that there was interest in making these unusable parcels of land available at the end of their working life to a project sponsor in order to produce photovoltaic electricity. This is a well thought-out addition to the environmental component of SMITED79, whose main job is to treat residual waste from households in Deux-Sévres.
SMITED79 has two main tools for this mission: the Champdeniers pre-treatment plant currently under construction, which must continue to reduce household waste through energy recovery and material recycling, and the Coulonges-Thouarsais non-hazardous waste storage facility. For a long time, the gas from the decomposing waste mass has been collected by an on-site system which recovers it as electricity, under a partnership with Séolis PROD.
This new photovoltaic installation is the result of a long administrative process. I do not know how many motions were voted on in order to achieve this. As the new president in September 2020, I had to go to the Thouarsais prefecture to move the modification to the PLUI (intermunicipality town planning classification) forward for these plots. Perseverance has led to the success of this project.
So for this fine achievement, I want to thank my teams for their conscientious management of this project. I would also like to thank Bernard Paineau, President of the CCT, for his involvement in the PLUI, and Urbasolar and Séolis PROD for the quality of the contractual relations. At the end of its operating life in November 2023, the Loge 2 plot could follow the same path in the coming years…” Yves Chouteau, Chairman of SMITED79, the Deux-Sèvres joint association for waste treatment and disposal
Inauguration of the Coulonges-Thouarsais Solar Power Plant – Photo Credit Urbasolar – Séolis PROD