Urbasolar starts work on the 1st floating solar energy plant in the Haute Garonne!

centrale solaire flottante haute-Garonne

Situated at Peyssies, construction of the 5 MW solar energy plant which will float on a lake in a former quarry has begun. This large project, located on a piece of land owned by the local authority, will allow the local community to join the energy transition by repurposing an artificial lake. The plant’s construction, led by expert teams from Urbasolar, will bring together environmental issues and technical challenges.

Initiated by the local authority, this project for a floating solar energy plant will help repurpose a former quarry, converted into a lake following its decommissioning, turning it into a source of renewable electricity production. With preparatory work now finalized, it’s now time to start construction of the floating pontoons and solar panel modules. Construction will take several months and be ready for commissioning at the end of 2021.

A technological challenge

Some 14,000 modules will make up a single floating island of pontoons joined together, on which the solar panels will be mounted. This island will be secured by anchor lines attached to the banks of the lake.

Backed by the group’s strong experience in the solar energy field, the Urbasolar R&D department develops innovative solutions which match the topographical requirements of each site, all with the aim of constantly improving the performance of its generators. The Peyssies floating solar energy plant is no exception. The construction and installation of this complex and highly technical setup is proof of the know-how of the group’s teams of experts.

In figures :

Power output: 5 MWp

Annual Production: 6,250 MWh/year or 10% of the electricity consumption of the Volvestre Regional Authorities Group

Enclosed surface area, lake + banks: 12.5

 Environmental issues

Urbasolar always seeks to make each project an integral part of its environment. The location of the solar panels was therefore analyzed in order to preserve the fauna living by the lake, creating a minimum 15-meter gap between the floating plant and the banks.

Alongside the ecological surveys of the flora and fauna, surveys of aquatic activity will also be conducted, in collaboration with an institute linked to the CNRS, throughout the plant’s operation. This is to ensure that any measures implemented are appropriate and produce the effects planned for in the environmental impact study. Physical/chemical monitoring of the water will also be conducted.

Floating solar energy technology offers regional stakeholders new ways of repurposing disused artificial lakes and this can be done without causing any conflicts of usage with agricultural activities. Urbasolar group has 2 other floating solar energy plants in the pipeline for September 2021, to be constructed in the neighboring localities of Carbonne and Salles-sur-Garonne.

Construction of the Peyssies floating solar energy plant – Photo credit: Urbasolar