| Akuo Energy, the leading French IPP in renewable energy, is launching the construction of O’MEGA1 in Piolenc (Vaucluse, southeast France), the first floating solar plant in France and the most powerful in Europe.
When operational, the plant will produce 100% green energy covering the power consumption of 4,733 homes. With an output of 17MWc, the plant will be deployed on 17 hectares of land and will enable the emission of 1,093 tonnes of CO2 to be avoided.
This revolutionary solar plant and its 47,000 solar PV panels will be deployed on the lake in the old Piolenc quarry and will be equipped with the latest generation Hydrelio® by Ciel & Terre floating structure. This system, which helps reduce conflicts over land use, will be installed on flood and irrigation overflow lakes, drinking water reservoirs, industrial pools, flood plains and quarry lakes. To date, the technology developed by Ciel & Terre already has a proven international track record with 235 MWc of floating solar plants installed with Hydrelio® products worldwide. Akuo Energy is the manufacturer and exclusive distributor of the Hydrelio® by Ciel & Terre product in France. This first plant will be built by Bouygues Energies Services.
For the first time, Akuo Energy has opened up the project’s capital to physical people who have a home in the Vaucluse or neighbouring departments. The aim of this approach is to encourage citizens to become involved in the financing of the energy transition using the region’s stakeholders. The municipality of Piolenc has also decided to invest alongside local residents under the same conditions in order to benefit from the project’s financial profitability.
O’MEGA 1 will be the first Akuo Energy plant to operate within the framework of the additional remuneration mechanism. The plant’s electricity production will be directly sold on the markets via the E6 aggregator, and the additional remuneration will offset the discrepancy between the income from these sales and the price set during the tender process. This new remuneration tool enables markets’ renewable energy lines to be brought closer together.
Natixis Energeco has financed the project to the tune of €12.8 million, and is thus the first bank in France to provide such a sum of non-recourse financing to a floating photovoltaic plant. This is a major step for the development, in France, of this technology that enables open spaces that are not competing with agricultural or natural land to be used.
Driven by its regional commitment, Akuo Energy wanted O’MEGA1 to combine the production of electricity from renewable sources with organic agricultural production via the Ferme d’Akuo®, or Akuo Farm. This farm, run in accordance with the principles of agroecology, will be devoted to organic market gardening with production aimed at the local market: canteens, short sales channels, etc. This project thus has a substantial environmental component to drive the site’s ecological rehabilitation.
In partnership with Piolenc town hall, the Akuo Foundation and Akuo Energy teams regularly organise educational workshops in the town’s civic centre to increase children’s awareness of renewable energies and the importance of protecting the environment. The Akuo Farm includes an educational path made from these workshops to increase local residents’ awareness about agroecology, biodiversity and the energy transition.
Louis Driey, Mayor of Piolenc, said:
For Piolenc, the finalisation of this project is the result of many years of battles with the authorities to convince them of the value of this groundbreaking idea of a floating solar plant, the first – and currently only – such plant in France. The materialisation of this technological prowess that we have supported from the outset will make Piolenc the first “positive energy” town in France, producing more energy than it uses.
Eric Scotto, President and Co-founder of Akuo Energy, adds:
For Akuo Energy, O’MEGA1 is the culmination of a number of firsts: first floating solar plant in France, first time the Group has opened up a project’s capital to individuals and a municipality, first bank financing for floating solar…! Through this communal project, we are operating as a global player in the energy transition and hope this plant will serve as an example to follow for our future projects. It is a source of great pride for us to be working hand in hand with all these players making this an exemplary project!