EDF flicks switch on France's largest solar farm

Energy giant EDF yesterday cut the ribbon on the largest solar power plant in France and reiterated its commitment to delivering a huge expansion in solar capacity across the country.

The seven megawatt plant in La Narbonnaise in the south of France has been built using thin film photovoltaic solar panels provided by US firm First Solar and is expected to provide enough power for over 4,200 homes.

EDF claimed that the plant represents over 10 per cent of France's solar energy capacity and should prevent the emission of 2,752 tonnes of CO2 each year.

Pâris Mouratoglou, chairman of the board of directors of EDF's renewable energy arm EDF Energies Nouvelles, said that the company planned to use the new plant as a forerunner for further facilities across the country.

"Solar energy has become one of our priorities," he said. "We would like to be able to set up power stations in regions other than in the very south of France, to allow the country to catch up with other markets and establish itself as a major solar energy market, generating investment, innovation and jobs."

The company now regards solar as second only to wind in its list of priorites and has set itself the target of delivering 500MW of solar capacity by 2012, a 24-fold increase on current levels.

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