France opens Europe's largest solar farm

FRANCE has opened the largest solar farm in Europe, producing enough electricity to power a city the size of Bordeaux.

The 260 hectare park, situated at Cestas in Gironde, is slightly larger than the principality of Monaco and has a 300MW capacity, the same power as an old coal power station. 

It cost €360million and has been built by the independent renewable electricity producer Neoen its managing director said it had been completed on time and in budget.

Newspaper Le Figaro highlighted its cost alongside that for the EPR nuclear reactor being built in Flamanville, Manche, whose budget has risen from €3.3billion to €10.5bn and is currently due to start production six years late, in 2018. It has 2,600MW capacity.

Also by comparison, the price of electricity from the solar park is set at €105 per megawatt hour for the first 20 years, compared to €114MWh for the EPR reactor. (Wind power is typically around €80MWh).

The site has 680km of underground cable, 3,700km of solar cable and 116km of high tension cable. More than 16,500 metal support tables and 3,826 fuse boxes were fitted for the one million solar panels.

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