EDF Renewables has partnered with a new portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group to acquire a French agrophotovoltaic developer with a 2.4GW solar portfolio.
The deal will see EDF Renewables and Cero Generation each buy a 45% equity stake in Green Lighthouse Development (GLHD), with the remaining 10% owned by the company’s founders.
GLHD’s agroPV projects colocate agricultural activity with solar energy production, a solution that the company expects to be increasingly important in France, as the country aims to reach up to 44GW of installed PV by 2028.
“France has hugely ambitious plans for solar energy. Agrivoltaic projects provide an opportunity to deliver that ambition, while supporting crop production and providing farming communities with additional revenue streams,” said Nikolaj Harbo, CEO of Cero Generation.
Launched earlier this year, Cero Generation is a company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group that has an 8GW solar development portfolio, spanning European markets such France, the UK, Italy, Spain, Poland and the Netherlands.
For EDF Renewables, the acquisition complements the EDF Group’s Solar Power Plan, which aims to grow the company’s PV capacity in France to 30GW by 2035, and follows news in February that the business has started construction work on its first floating solar project in its home market.
“EDF Renewables is thrilled by the opportunity to invest in Green Lighthouse Development, who are ideally positioned to leverage the emerging agrivoltaic market,” said Nicolas Couderc, EDF Renewables’ executive vice-president, France.
With land access a major hurdle for future solar development in France, clean energy trade body Syndicat des Énergies Renouvelables has collaborated with the country’s farming industry to explore dual land use with PV projects. The association’s chief executive told PV Tech that solar can be a “very interesting compliment” for France’s agriculture sector.
Other recent developments in Europe’s agroPV segment have seen BayWa r.e. expand a PV plant in the Netherlands to help protect fruit from extreme weather, while Enel Green Power is partnering with universities and research institutions to explore how to integrate farming activities alongside large-scale PV projects in southern Europe.
In Spain, meanwhile, two community agroPV projects that are being built to understand the impact solar shading has on the cultivation of tropical fruit are set to be connected to the grid later this year.