Long-term yield assessment for France’s largest urban solar farm

27-04-2020

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In a couple of weeks, the solar farm of the Oncopole of Toulouse will be connected to the grid. With an output of 15 MWp and an area of 25 ha, this solar park will be the first large solar project in urban setting. Designed, constructed and operated by Urbasolar, the Oncopole solar energy farm represents a top-class environmental project bringing together innovations of a technical and artistic nature. Zoom in on that unique project of which the long-term yield assessment has been carried out by 3E.

Named after the nearby research and healthcare campus, the Oncopole solar park was built on the former site of the AZF chemical factory which exploded in 2001. In addition to being on a heavily polluted ground, the solar farm is located next to the Garonne river, on a flood plain. Rehabilitating the site into an environmental-friendly project has thus required a specific design and some innovative installation processes, such as cleaning up the soil, higher PV panels, etc.

With its 34,800 PV panels the Oncopole solar farm is expected to produce 19,260 MWh/year of renewable energy, which amounts to the electricity needs of 4,100 households.

Next to those target numbers, the Oncopole project also integrates an aesthetic dimension. 1,500 coloured panels have been installed between regular PV modules, creating a pixelated image that can be admired by plane or from the surrounding hills. This approach is called Land Art and aims in this case to reduce the visual pollution that this solar farm could have on the urban environment.

During the development phase, 3E was appointed by solar energy company Urbasolar to perform a long-term yield assessment of this unique solar project in urban setting. Thanks to highly reliable historical solar irradiation databases, 3E consultants were able to calculate the long-term energy production with the utmost accuracy.

Rogelio Avendaño Reyes, Regional Manager France & North-Africa at 3E, says: “We were glad to work for Urbasolar on this project that is unique by its size, urban setting and location on a former polluted site. We thank Urbasolar for its renewed trust and for this collaboration with 3E that has now lasted for about ten years”.

Olivier PANAGIOTOU, Director of Studies & Research at Urbasolar: “Urbasolar has been supported by 3E for this project to assess the P50 and P90 yield. All environmental and technical aspects of this very singular site have been considered to adapt the design at best. Land art, urban and topography features, conservative measures regarding the flooding risk have been integrated to the yield assessment to deliver a suitable design lean towards genuine performances”.


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