The largest solar park in Europe, a 300MW project developed by France-based firm Neoen near Bordeaux, has been connected to the grid.

Neoen started developing the EUR360 million (US$404 million) park 10 months ago on a 250-hectare site at Cestas in south-western France.

The park will be able to produce enough electricity for 250,000 people, the equivalent of the neighbouring city of Bordeaux. If heating is included this number comes down to 150,000 people, Neoen project manager Guilhem de Tyssandier told PV Tech.

A consortium composed of Eiffage, its subsidiary Clemessy, Schneider Electric and Krinner, was in charge of the works and construction of the park, which was separated into 25 separate plants of 12MW each.

At the height of operations, there were 250 workers on site, installing nearly 5MW of solar panels each day in an East-West facing orientation.

Modules were supplied by three separate Chinese manufacturers, Trina Solar, Yingli Solar and Canadian Solar.

Electricity will be sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement with the utility EDF. The solar park has the ability to sell electricity at a price of EUR105/MWh.

On 25 September, the park was connected to France’s unique high voltage network Réseau de transport d’électricité (RTE), which provides electricity across the country.

PV Tech visited the plant earlier this month to take a closer look at the intricacies of its design and investigate the challenges of putting together Europe’s largest solar installation. A blog on the visit will be published this week.

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