Neoen inks 139MW French agriPV PPA with rail operator SNCF

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The 25-year agreement covers the entire power production of the Le Couret agrivoltaics plant in the Haute-Vienne region. Image: Neoen

French independent power producer (IPP) Neoen has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with SNCF Energie for a 139MW solar PV plant in central France.

The 25-year agreement covers the entire power production of the Le Couret agrivoltaics plant in the Haute-Vienne region. The project has secured a grid connection and will begin construction in 2026, with commercial operations expected in 2028. It will be co-located with 150 hectares of sheep grazing land, following collaboration between Neoen and the French Chamber of agriculture.

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SNCF Energie is the subsidiary of the French rail company SNCF concerned with the electricity supply for French trains. The power from Le Couret will supply SNCF’s trains and will be the largest project that the company has under PPA.

Olivier Menuet, president of SNCF Energie, said: “As France’s number one consumer of electricity, we have a duty to be exemplary. The PPA with Neoen – my respect and gratitude to their teams and leaders – is another demonstration of our determination to continue purchasing contracting PPAs, as we have been doing since 2018.”

Guillaume Decaen, Neoen’s French development director said: “We are proud to have pioneered agrisolar back in 2019, when we initiated the development of Le Couret, five years before it became an important topic in France. The park will be home to 700 sheep and 1000 lambs, supporting farming in Haute Vienne while producing green, low-carbon electricity to power trains.”

Last month, Canadian asset owner Brookfield Renewables announced plans to acquire Neoen in a deal that valued the company at around €6.1 billion (US$6.6 billion). The deal would begin with a 53.32% majority share acquisition.

In November last year, France updated its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) with a new target of 60GW of solar PV capacity by 2030. In its most recent government tender for ground-mounted solar, France awarded 912MW of new capacity. Neoen was awarded the second-largest share of any developer, behind French utility EDF.

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