French renewables firm CNR launches new unit to develop 1GWp of solar by 2030

A floating solar project from BayWa r.e. in the Netherlands. Image: BayWa r.e.

French renewable energy company Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR) has set up a new subsidiary that will focus on the development of solar installations in the Rhône valley area of France.

Dubbed Solarhona, the unit will aim to deploy 1GWp of solar by 2030, prioritising ground-mount and floating PV projects with capacities up to 4MWp, as well as commercial and industrial rooftop systems.

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CNR said the subsidiary’s business model will allow its partners – local authorities, companies and farmers – to be involved in the governance of solar projects.

With more than 80 plants already underway, Solarhona has 20 employees and plans to double its workforce in the next year.

According to CNR’s website, the company has 4GW of installed renewables capacity, including 45 hydropower plants, 46 wind farms and 22 solar projects.

Chair of CNR’s board, Laurence Borie-Bancel, said the company has reconsidered its business model to accelerate the development of renewables.

CNR’s expansion in the floating solar segment comes after renewables developer and asset manager RES received planning permission last year for a 65.5MW floating PV project that will be installed at a former quarry in northeastern France.

Recent research from consultancy Fitch Solutions said the projected growth in floating PV globally will pose significant benefits to the hydroelectric pumped storage sector given the synergies between the two technologies.

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