France to tender 240 MW of solar capacity along highways


From pv magazine France

France's Regional Highways Division (DIR) plans to launch a series of tenders to deploy 240 MW of solar capacity along the country's highway network this month.

The DIR, the Cerema mobility research center, and the French Treasury have already identified 140 car parking areas with a total surface of 38.7 hectares. This includes around 100 interchanges for 162.4 hectares – a figure likely to change because the selection process is not yet complete.

“In total, the estimated power of this PV potential is 240 MW, representing more than 7.5% of projects connected to the French electricity network in 2023,” said Kévin Guichard, project director of Fin Infra, a government-run agency that advises public entities on their investment projects.

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These projects will be grouped by cluster, depending on geographic areas and/or economic balance, with a single developer or consortium to be selected per cluster. The selection of project clusters is still in progress and will lead to the launch of the first tenders from the end of April 2024.

The selection will take place in two stages. The first phase will focus on the selection of three to five candidates based on analysis of their financial and technical means. They will then have the opportunity to apply for the final phase of the tender, which will mainly focus on competitive bidding for the variable part, based on the turnover generated by the sale of electricity proposed by the candidate.

The tenders will award a public domain occupation agreement (CODP) for 33 years. During that period, the winning company will pay the public owner a fee consisting of a fixed portion and a variable part, depending on the turnover generated by the sale of electricity. At the end of the selection, it will have three years to carry out development studies and finalize commissioning.

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