Published on December 22nd, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill1
First Solar Installed European Capacity Reaches 4 GW With New 48 MW Deal
First Solar, one of the world’s leading solar companies, announced Wednesday that it had been awarded a contract to provide 48 MW worth of thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules for four French solar energy plants.
As a result of this latest award, First Solar’s total installed capacity in Continental Europe now exceeds 4 GW, powering approximately 1 million homes and displacing an estimated 1.2 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.
The four projects are owned by French renewable energy company Photosol, and are being constructed in the country’s Auvergne and Midi-Pyrénées regions: three of the plants — worth a total of 37MW — are located in the communes of Dompierre sur Bresbe, Gennetines and Marmanhac, while the fourth facility is being built in Sarrazac and will total 11 MW.
“As France actively promotes the adoption of solar energy, these projects will contribute towards the country’s efforts to diversify its energy mix. We expect these projects to make a significant local impact by providing communities with clean energy and contributing significantly to Europe’s CO2 reduction goals,” said David Guinard, Managing Director of Photosol. “Our choice of First Solar’s thin-film modules was based on a combination of cost-competitiveness, unrivalled bankability, the ability of its modules to reliably deliver solar power and the fact that the technology has the smallest carbon footprint, with the fastest energy payback time.”
Each of the power plants have been specifically designed to be as low-impact as possible on the local environment and communities. Three of the power plants are to be built on existing pastureland, but will allow landowners to continue grazing their livestock at the site, while the fourth site is situated near an oak forest and includes in its design access for wild animals.
“These projects are an excellent example of how France, like other parts of Europe, can diversify its power generation portfolio and achieve energy security by maximizing the use of available land and leveraging its most abundant energy resource — sunlight,” said Luis Pedro Marques, Managing Director of Jayme da Costa Energie. ”We are proud to have been part of effort and look forward to continuing our partnership with Photosol and First Solar.”
“These projects collectively represent a significant boost to Photosol’s installed capacity as this young, dynamic company continues to build on its successes,” said Stefan Degener, First Solar’s Director of Business Development for Europe. “I would like to thank our partners at Photosol and Jayme da Costa for the trust they’ve placed in us; their decision to use our advanced thin-film modules is testament to the technology’s suitability to utility-scale solar power plants in a wide variety of conditions.”