300 MW Cestas project fully grid connected

With installation and commissioning running around five weeks ahead of schedule, the consortium behind the construction of Europe’s largest PV plant has described its full grid connection completed yesterday “a very proud” moment. The 300 MW Cestas project, in France’s Bordeaux region, was completed by a consortium comprising French infrastructure company Eiffage, Schneider Electric and Krinner.

“The Cestas project is full erected, the mechanical completion has been achieved since Sept 30, and now it has been fully connected to the grid,” Patrick de Labrusse, the project director for Cestas consotium told pv magazine. “We are very satisfied because the consortium has performed very well and we’ve been able to execute what we anticipated to do at the beginning of the contract.”

The installation of the project has not been without challenges such as a high water table during spring when construction commenced through to some of the largest wild fires the region has experienced in recent times in summer, fanned by winds up to 50kmh. Despite this and the logistical challenge of installing over one million solar modules within a short timeframe, the consortium reports that the plant’s construction progressed more-or-less as planned.

“The handover was targeted for early January and we will be able to complete it in late November or in the early days of December,” said de Labrusse. The project took six months to construct.

Eiffage reports that the Cestas project has demonstrated the company’s ability to execute very large PV projects. However despite this, de Labrusse reported that he is skeptical whether such large solar projects in France will be encourage by government policy in the near future.

“I think the government is not really promoting large facilities,” said de Labrusse. “In respect of Eiffage, Cestas provides the capacity to export our activities. It also provides legitimacy to our ability to provide solutions to countries in Africa – which we are currently actively sourcing.”

Cestas was developed by Neoen.