Work starts on Amilly solar farm

Work on the future solar farm in the commune of Amilly, in the Loiret region, was officially launched on 26 June in the presence of representatives of the Ministry of the Armed Forces (defence base, defence infrastructure service, directorate for land, property and the environment), elected representatives and representatives of the Urbasolar group, a renewable energy producer in charge of building the facility.

From 2020 onwards, the Ministry of the Armed Forces launched several series of calls for expressions of interest (AMI) as part of the “Place au soleil” plan, with a view to building photovoltaic power plants on a number of its sites, thereby contributing to the development of renewable energies in France.
The Urbasolar group has been chosen as the winning bidder to develop, build and operate the solar power plant to be built on the former petrol refuelling centre at Amilly in the Loiret region.
The Amilly military site is the first in France to host a renewable energy production facility as part of the Ministry of Defence’s “Place au soleil” plan.
The symbolic installation of the first solar panel in the presence of all the stakeholders marks the start of construction on this project, which is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2025.

An exemplary first project, symbolising the commitment of the Ministry of the Armed Forces to the energy transition

Left as a wasteland since the closure of the petrol refuelling centre in 2004, the land is to be given a new lease of life as the site, covering more than 9 hectares, is to house some 17,300 modules with a capacity of 9 MWp, which will produce 10,400 MWh of green electricity a year, equivalent to the annual consumption of almost 4,700 people.

In charge of development, construction and operation, the Urbasolar group paid particular attention to risk management when building this facility in a sensitive area, given its past activities. A Residual Risk Analysis was carried out to verify the compatibility of the development project with the quality of the land.
Specific measures have also been taken to take account of environmental issues on the site. To the south-west of the site, a wetland has been identified as a haven for biodiversity, which will be fully protected and excluded from the project right-of-way. The space between the rows of solar panels will also be increased compared with a conventional project, so as to reduce the shading effect and create areas that are favourable for the reproduction and nesting of the bird species identified on the site, as well as encouraging the development of local flora.

The Urbasolar group’s long experience in building ground-mounted solar power plants and its technical expertise make it a leading player in the construction of facilities on degraded and high-risk sites. The group is currently working with the French armed forces on the construction of 2 other power plants on former military sites in the Ain and Vaucluse regions.

The future solar farm at Amilly, which is exemplary in many respects, demonstrates the strong commitment of the Ministry of the Armed Forces to the energy transition and the desire of the Urbasolar group to support it in this process.

Installation of the first solar panel at the Amilly solar power plant – Photo credit: URBASOLAR