A French consortium, led by the CNR (Compagnie nationale du Rhone), is launching a pilot project to build a 900 kW solar cycling path in southern France. The initiative, set to run from 2025 to 2028, aims to assess the performance and design of the PV facility.
From pv magazine France
CNR is leading a consortium in the development of “Ombrières PHotovoltaïquE grand LIneAire”, a solar shading project along the ViaRhôna cycling route in southern France’s Caderousse department, alongside the Rhône River.
The pilot project aims to evaluate the integration of a PV facility into the landscape and assess its energy performance. The project partners include French cable supplier Nexans, Schneider Electric, railway operator SNCF, and the SuperGrid Institute.
The PV system will span 900 meters in length and have an installed capacity of 900 kW. It will consist of 30 shaded structures with west-east oriented solar panels.
The consortium will conduct tests on the system’s overall architecture and the equipment needed for transporting medium voltage direct current (MVDC) electricity to the delivery point. Construction and testing are scheduled for the 2025-28 period, following a three-year phase of engineering studies, research and development (R&D), and prototyping.
“Direct current represents a new technological horizon in medium voltage after more than a hundred years of development in alternating current,” said Christophe Prévé, chief technical officer of medium voltage offers at Schneider Electric. “It should allow better integration into the networks of certain applications such as the installation of large photovoltaic linear arrays, promoting significant development of renewable energies while avoiding the artificialization of land.”
One of the project’s challenges will be minimizing electrical losses due to the long length of the cables, in order to allow the development of projects longer than 20 km.
“By experimenting with the use of solar panels on a large length, the project is paving the way for the enhancement of the surroundings of railway lines,” said Carole Desnost, vice-president of technologies, innovation and projects for SNCF.
In July, the railroad operator launched a subsidiary, SNCF Renewables, to develop 1 GW of solar power by 2030.
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