SunPower won 39.1 MW of solar power and energy storage projects in the French West Indies and Corsica. These are French non-interconnected zones, and the government of France is considering sustainable electric systems for islands.
“SunPower applauds the French government for promoting solar power development in the ZNI, and its forward-thinking approach to integrating battery storage with these projects to provide a more resilient, reliable and sustainable utility grid infrastructure,” explained Eduardo Medina, SunPower Executive Vice President.
About 20.7 MW of SunPower’s solar power modules will be used for the projects, and a number of others will also be developed totaling 18.4 MW, with battery storage. SunPower is an American company, but project diversification may be a positive strategy.
The tender was put out last year and called for 25 MW of rooftop solar and 25 MW of ground-mounted solar, including energy storage.
Several million people live in overseas departments and territories administered by France. The French West Indies has a population of about 842,000, and it already has some solar power. A company named Albioma says it has installed 32 MW there. According to a Rocky Mountain Institute blog post, most of the Caribbean islands generate almost all of their electricity from fossil fuels, and residents pay high rates. An NREL document says that the French island of Guadeloupe, which has a population of about 405,000, has only 5.7% of its energy mix coming from solar power. According to this source, about 50% of its energy mix is petroleum and 31% is coal. It wasn’t published in 2016 though, so those figures might not be completely current.
Tourism is a big economic factor in the Caribbean, so making the islands more environmentally sustainable is very likely to be a good long-term plan both financially and ecologically, to ensure the natural beauty remains in intact.