EDF develops its first floating PV project – which will be France’s largest

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France’s state-owned utility EDF is entering the floating PV business with a large-scale project in the south of the nation.

In a statement to pv magazine, the company’s press office confirmed an intent to build its first floating solar power plant, as previously reported by French financial newspaper Les Échos.

“The Lazer floating solar project will be located on the hydroelectric water retainer of Lazer in the Hautes-Alpes (France), next to the hydroelectric dam of Saint-Sauveur,” the company said in its statement. “It will be deployed over 24 hectares with solar panels on the water retainer, which represents [three quarters of] the total water surface.”

The project will be larger than the only other utility-scale floating project under development in France – by independent power producer Akuo Energy – which will have a capacity of 17 MW and be deployed near Piolenc, in the Vaucluse department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southern France.

“Its installed capacity of about 20 MW will allow the equivalent of the annual electric power supply of more than 7,000 inhabitants,” an EDF spokesperson said of the newly-announced project. “The commissioning of the project is scheduled for 2020.”

At the end of 2017, EDF announced a 30 GW solar plan to be implemented between 2020 and 2035. In March it unveiled plans to deploy around 10 GW of storage capacity by 2035, and in October EDF said it intended to become a leader in e-mobility by 2022.