Tech advances halving surface needed for ground-mount solar


From pv magazine France

France's VSB Energies Nouvelles has started building a 9 MW solar power plant on a former gravel and sand pit, clay and kaolin extraction site in Druelle Balsac, southern France.

The project was originally supposed to have a capacity of just 5 MW.

“The project participated in a tender held by the CRE in 2016,” Jérémie Baccar, PV development manager for VSB Energies Nouvelles, told pv magazine France. “Then, during the development phase between 2016 and 2021, technological developments allowed us to almost double the installed power of the park, without changing the surface area.”

He said that about 30% of this increase resulted from the evolution of the solar modules, which reached higher power outputs.

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“The Soleil de Balsac project was initially planned to have around 26,500 modules with each a power of 300 W,” said Baccar. “In its final configuration, it will have approximately 40,000 modules with each an output of 550 W, which will be provided by Chinese manufacturer GCL.”

In its final configuration, the project also benefited from its optimized layout and the inter-row spacing of the modules – a densification that facilitated a power gain of 55%.

“Important work has been carried out by our development teams to find the optimum between the shading resulting from the bringing together of the modules due to narrower rows and the gain in production obtained thanks to the increase in the number of panels on the park,” said Baccar.

VSB currently has 2 GW of solar under development. Its projects include floating arrays, agrivoltaic installations, PV carports, and large rooftop solar projects.

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