French IPP Neoen has started construction of a 10MW solar farm on a former gravel pit near the village of Miremont in the Haute Garonne département of France’s Occitanie region.

The Miremont solar farm will be fitted with thin-film solar modules from US-based firm First Solar.

Neoen has signed a partnership with Bêle Solutions which will make available a number of sheep, enabling natural maintenance of the site once it begins operation.

The project is due to come into service in July of this year. Its annual output will supply enough green electricity for 2,345 households.

Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s chairman and CEO, said: “Although very active in France, with 700MW of solar and wind projects in operation or construction at present, Neoen was not yet established in Haute Garonne, an area particularly well suited to the development of solar power. Miremont will therefore be Neoen’s first project to come into service in this département, and we are delighted with it. Embodying fully our concept of local projects, Miremont will contribute to the rehabilitation of a priority site, a former gravel pit that is currently waste ground. This project has been warmly welcomed by the Mayor of Miremont and GAIA, the landowner, and I would like to thank them for their unwavering support throughout the project process.”

Fabrice Martin, regional director, GAIA Midi Pyrénées, subsidiary of the Colas group, said: “We are very pleased to see Neoen’s first solar panels being installed on the site we operated for more than 20 years before restoring. This site contributed materials for major projects such as the widening of the D820 and the construction of the Montgiscard bridge. Operations and restorations were completed in 2012. Together with Neoen we have been able to develop a project that contributes to the move to renewable energy. This site will produce much more, renewable, energy than GAIA consumes in the whole Occitanie region."

Neoen recently secured financing for a 375MW PV project in Mexico.

Tags: neoen, first solar, france, gravel pit, europe