Total completes solar plant at its biorefinery in France

French oil group, Total announced the completion of an 8 MW solar plant at its biorefinery Plateforme Total de La Mède, located in Chateauneuf-les-Martigues, in France’s southern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

“The project was accomplished in a very short time and in compliance with strict specific safety standards of the refinery,” said Julien Pouget, director of Renewables at Total.

The company has used 17,000 modules from its U.S. unit SunPower for the project, which has been developed on a 12 hectare surface at the site. Total also said the project represents a contribution to France’s plan aimed at solarizing industrial sites across the country.

The facility will cover around 50% of the energy needs of the biorefinery, Total stressed. The refinery, which will be operational in 2019, will produce biodiesel mainly from waste oils and partly from vegetable oils.

Total is active in the solar sector through SunPower, of which it has a 57% stake, and French solar developer EREN RE, of which the company acquired a 23% interest in late last September.

In April 2016, meanwhile, the group announced a comprehensive new organizational plan, including the creation of a fourth business segment to cover gas, renewable energy and power.