First corporate PPA for large scale solar signed in France

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French renewables developer Voltalia has secured a 25-year corporate PPA for energy generated by a 5 MW solar facility with French retailer Boulanger the off-taker.

Voltalia said it is the first PPA between a power producer and big private energy consumer in France. Although several deals of a similar kind have been announced in recent months, the Voltalia contract is the only bilateral PPA to have been signed in France to date.

The developer has not disclosed the price at which Boulanger will buy electricity from its facility, which is expected to be grid connected in 2022, but said the retailer had committed through an exclusive partnership agreement to prioritize buying power from wind and solar plants to be developed by Voltalia.

Cash injection

In a separate press release, Voltalia announced it had secured a €100 million credit facility from 12 lenders. The financing – a €55 million credit line and €45 million long-term loan – was arranged by French corporate and investment bank Natixis.

Voltalia says the arrangement is the first green, sustainable syndicated loan for a European independent power producer. Both credit facilities have a maturity of five years, which may be extended to seven.

Solar PPAs in France

Another PPA was recently signed between French renewables company Akuo Energy and internet business Qwant, but it was unclear whether solar was part of the agreement. In November, French energy cooperative Enercoop issued a request for proposals to help it select solar and wind power projects up to 10 MW in size with which it could sign a long-term PPA.

Other entities in France are seeking clean energy PPAs through similar tenders, including the Airport of Paris and national rail company SNCF. The latter published an expression of interest in 2017 in which it announced it was aiming to source around 20% of its electricity from renewables by 2025. The airport published a request for proposals from renewable energy producers last May.

So far, however, none of those preparations appear to have resulted in deals.