A PV power plant with nearly 300,000 solar panels in an agricultural park Ortaffa in the French Pyrenees is the biggest solar project juwi group has ever built in the nation. Covering 87 hectares, the power plant can generate clean energy for 10,000 households. Through special measures, the park revives the local tradition of sheep farming and beekeeping on-site and enables the agricultural heritage of wine-growing to rise again.
“We are really proud of this project,” says Delphine Guinet, project manager at juwi EnR, the French subsidiary of the German project developer juwi. “It was a grand challenge in ecological as well as in economic and political terms – it took us six years to fulfill the high demands of all parties involved.” The result, however, is a one of a kind solar and agricultural park: Annually, the PV power plant generates 35.5million kWh of eco-friendly electricity while at the same time the park enhances the local wine- and agricultural heritage.
To reduce potential environmental impact and to preserve the surrounding nature a best as possible, the solar park is subdivided into ten sections. This makes the park blend perfectly into the surrounding landscape. In addition, juwi helped support local agricultural activities such as crops sowing, shepherding, honey-bearing plants sowing and wine making.
“Our solar park allows us to increase the value of an agricultural zone, which had almost been given up. We revived the tradition of wine-growing, beekeeping and farming in the region. As a result of the open dialogue between all parties involved, the park matches the needs of our region and thus stimulates the local economy,” says Raymond Pla, Mayor of Ortaffa.
During all phases of the development, Ortaffa solar park has had a positive effect on the local job market. A total of 56 companies were involved in the construction works, 40% of them located in the region. The financial benefits generated by Ortaffa solar and agricultural park will remain in the community and continue to increase the local value chain for more than 20 years and even after the end of the feed-in tariffs.
The efficiency of the project also convinced the French government. Ortaffa solar and agricultural park won the Regulatory Commission of Energy’s (CRE) first ever invitation to tender for a PV project.
(Photo Credit: juwi)