French energy agency says ‘neglected’ areas offer 53 GW of PV potential

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From pv magazine France

The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) has published a report which describes the solar energy potential of neglected surfaces and parking lots in mainland France and Corsica, in addition to 17,764 related sites that could host PV plants.

The 17,764 sites were selected from approximately 301,000 locations that were initially identified in neglected areas (excluding uncultivated agricultural land) and parking lots. The agency selected the locations according to the state of uncultivated land and other potential barriers to the construction of power stations, with total deployable solar capacity estimated at around 53 GW.

Of the selected sites, two-thirds are located in neglected areas and could accommodate 49 GW of capacity. In terms of typology, the most numerous sites are old deposits of hydrocarbons, which account for more than 23% of the total. Old commercial and industrial sites account for more than 5% of the total, while more than 4% of the identified locations are old waste storage sites. The remaining one-third is represented by parking lots, which can be exploited by installing rooftop carports, with the potential to host about 4 GW of PV capacity.

The sites are particularly interesting because there is little, if any, competition for use. On the other hand, as far as costs are concerned, if ground-based power stations are less expensive than rooftop arrays, it remains unclear whether costs in neglected areas would be higher. In addition, 70% of the selected sites each offer potential ranging from 0.5 MW to 2.5 MW, which means they would not be as cost-competitive as locations that could accommodate larger plants.

Under its new national energy strategy, the “Programmation pluriannuelle de l’énergie” (PPE), France aims to install an additional 36.5 GW of solar capacity by 2030.