A fruit and vegetable distribution centre in the south of France is now the site of the world’s largest building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) system, after 97,000 Solaire France Sunstyle PV roofing tiles were installed on the Saint Charles International in Perpignan.
The 8.8MW array, which spans 11 buildings and 68,000m2 of warehouse roofing, took two years to install and will generate 9,800MWh of electricity a year. This electricity is to be fed back into the public grid and sold to energy company EDF via a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Plans are already in place to expand the record-breaking system to include and additional 250,000m2 of tiling by 2015, potentially tripling capacity in the process.
The €54 million development was financed by Saint Charles Solaire alongside its associates Akuo Saint Charles, Caisse des Dépots et Consignation, Solaire France International, the Pool Centrale Solaire and Solaire France. Further backing came from French banks Natixis and Banque Populaire du Sud.
The Saint Charles International array was officially opened by France’s Minister for the Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transportation and Housing, Nathalie Kosciusko, in October.