12 MWp Solar PV plant diversifies income for French tree farm owner
Delta partner, Gaitasun, served as the EPC Contractor (Engineering, procurement and construction) for a 12 MWp PV installation near Mios, France. The project, named Caudos 3, was awarded a FiT (Feed-in tariff) through a French national tender.
The landowner had initiated the building of the ground-mounted PV plant to help diversify and stabilise his tree farm income. A very destructive windstorm landing over Southern France and Spain in 2009 called Storm Klaus had destroyed a vast part of the tree crop on the owner’s property. Lacking a diversified income stream at that time was a motivating factor for the business owner to set aside some hectares to establish PV power plants, whereby the energy produced could be sold back to the grid operator via a Feed-in Tariff and create a new income stream for the business. Adding a solar farm to the land was consistent with the environmentally-friendly nature of the business.
Gaitasun wanted to gain the benefits of a decentralized PV power plant concept. By using string inverters in the plant design instead of large central inverters, the benefits of faster installation and minimal system downtime due to short replacement lead time could be realised.
Construction of the power plant began on July 1, 2017 and was completed in only 5 months. Gaitasun had selected Delta M88H solar inverters for the project due to their large 88kVA power output in a relative compact package. The units could be installed on-site quickly with minimal lift equipment. The units have the added advantage of integrated AC and DC Surge Protection Devices that limit the spread of overvoltages and protect sensitive electronics in case of surge currents. The IP65 protection class of the M88H chassis was important to the project since the coastal region of France experiences heavy rainfall in the late fall and winter time.
During the construction phase of the plant, Delta sent engineering and support staff to the PV plant site to help provide training and pre-commissioning support to Gaitasun. 132 Delta M88H inverters were installed within the complete 12 MWp PV plant.
The location of the installation in Gironde Province, just southwest of Bordeaux, is known for its wine and forestry and now increasingly, for solar energy. The grand opening for the plant took place on January 18, 2018 with Delta representatives, other suppliers and local government officials present. The Gaitasun engineer that oversees the plant operation, Mr. Jonathan Chau, has reported to Delta that the energy harvest from the PV plant is greater than he expected and he is very satisfied with its operation.
The tree farm owner now has a diversified and stabilized income stream from the solar energy production. The power plant produces enough electricity to power up to 5,600 homes, 15,100,000 kWh annually. Carbon savings per annum total 1,238 tonnes.
Delta had a good collaboration with its partner Gaitasun with whom it has already renewed its collaboration on a first African project and is planning on working together on new projects within France and Africa. Once again, Delta was proud to be an integral part of a project that demonstrates business and environmental goals can be complementary and profitable.