Solar energy in full light

Photovoltaic projects are multiplying exponentially in Tarn. They are doubling every year from 2022.

While wind power and methanizers crystallize public anger, photovoltaics continue their march forward. Operators are multiplying, elected officials are pleased and antis are few and far between. Here are some examples of this solar growth.

• Pioneering Carmausin

A few years ago it was the predecessor of Carmausin. The former unbuildable mining site was given a second life by installing 36,000 voltaic panels on 14 hectares (five separate sites) for the consumption of 12,000 inhabitants.

Why stop now when everything is going so well? A few months ago, the mayor of Blaye-les-Mines, Jean-François Kowalik, signed with the Engie Green group the provision of 11 hectares of common land. 5 will house a land-based power plant and 6 will be dedicated to an agrovoltaic project.

“The financial benefits for the municipality will be significant both in terms of compensation and in terms of annual rent. The farmer will also receive support from Engie Green for his participation. And it will also have an economic benefit for the entire Carmausin-Ségala area,” reminded the mayor.

• Albi decided to rebuild the old Pelissier power plant

Let’s go to Albi. Here, too, the municipality wanted to invest in solar energy and created a power plant that will be put into operation in the spring of 2022. The chosen location is not neutral. It is a former Pélissier coal-fired power plant with land where it is not possible to build or create new agricultural land. On an area of ​​24,000 m2, 13,000 panels were installed to produce 6,000 megawatts, equivalent to the consumption of 5,000 people.

At Sequestration, we wanted to be more innovative. The Pousse-pisse solar park is the first energy community in France with an output of 250 kW for the consumption of 250 people. Electricity produced by the solar park is sold by the cooperative directly to consumers located less than 2 km from the facility. “These community buildings, as well as the merchants and citizens who participate in the energy community, are powered by Enercoop and Sequestre’s sun,” summed up Gérard Poujage, Mayor of Sequestre, during the inauguration.

• Avoid agricultural land

Power plants are also located in Montdragon on 11 hectares for the consumption of 3,890 households. Giroussens has not been left out since November 2022 with its 13,000 panels, 12 GWh power and 7,400 people consumption. Here, too, these eleven hectares were installed on a former industrial wasteland.

In the Castres region, the former Pioch de Gaïx open-air landfill, closed in 2008 and since decontaminated, will be transformed into an array of 16,000 panels, providing 8 megawatts, equivalent to the annual consumption of Valdurenque, Lagarrigue and Labruguière. .

The newest one is located in the city Realmont. The Al Gouty Solar Power Plant was inaugurated on March 21. These 7,000 panels were installed on the site of a former technical landfill. And it was Total Energies and Soleil du Midi – an Occitan supplier of solar energy equipment – ​​that carried out the work. Electricity production is sufficient to supply 3000 inhabitants. This new page is a supplement to the existing page in Joncas. In total, 6.6 megawatts are produced in the village of Réalmont.

• 314 MW installed at the end of 2023

“It is true that the number of files that come to our offices is growing. From 2022, this number will double every year,” acknowledges the director of the territorial directorate of the department, Maxime Cuenot, whose services grant building permits.

“To give you an idea, we had 273 MW installed on December 31, 2022. By December 31, 2023, that number has reached 314 MW.” The vast majority of these projects are built on former polluted sites.

“We have to find a balance between energy sovereignty and food sovereignty.” The goal is not to lose agricultural land except for agrovoltaics, which is a plus for farms. For DDT, “the priority is to find harmonious solutions between the elected representatives of the municipalities, even if they do not have the power to ban the project, the population, the association of mayors, farmers and developers”.

“It’s important that everything happens in peace,” admits the director, who recalls the importance of moving away from carbon energies to cope with the rise of electric cars, heat pumps and the end of all oil.

Virtuous will with a big catch. The vast majority of photovoltaic panel production is made… in China.

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