One of France’s largest canal networks is set to host four PV systems totaling 12MW of generation capacity. The arrays are expected to occupy a total canal surface with a length of 5,420m and to generate a total of 19GWh per year.

From pv magazine France

France-based Société du Canal de Provence (SCP) and French energy provider Sergies, have signed a partnership agreement to jointly finance, build and operate four PV systems with a combined capacity of 12MW on the Provence Canal, which is a canal system serving, with water, 110 municipalities in the southern French regions of Bouches-du-Rhône and the Var, including big cities such as Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, and Toulon.

These solar systems are expected to occupy a total canal surface with a length of 5,420m and to generate a total of 19GWh per year. They will be located across the municipalities of Venelles, Rians, and Signes.

The SCP will be in charge of deciding the area to be occupied by the facilities, carrying out the soil studies, and providing anchorage. Sergies, which was selected at the end of 2021, following a tender process, will manage the deployment of the PV installations and the associated electrical equipment.

The choice of the specific project design will be made by considering landscape integration and the technical and economic balance of the photovoltaic installations.

The two companies created a 50/50 special purpose vehicle for the project. Their main goal, in the long term, is bringing their technical solutions closer to commercial viability.

According to their estimations, the Provence Canal has the potential to host around 40MW of PV capacity. A first, 36kW prototype above a section of the canal was built in 2016 in the town of Rians. The main purpose was to study the effects of the water in cooling the photovoltaic panels and the impact of that process on electricity production efficiency.