The most powerful floating solar PV plant in Europe was inaugurated in southern France, as an additional path in the development of solar energy. This project called “O’MEGA1” is a 17 MW solar plant situated in Piolenc, a commune in the Vaucluse department.
Works on the O’MEGA1 project started in 2014, on the site of an old quarry that was converted into a lake. It is now the largest plant based on floating solar technology in Europe. According to its promoters, “the floating structure helps reduce conflicts over land use because it can be installed on drinking water reservoirs, industrial pools, flood plains or quarry lakes”.
The solar plant also innovates in its local community dimension, since citizens are invited to take a stake in the project. The plant’s capital was opened to locals who live in Vaucluse or in neighbouring regions. According to its promoters, the plant’s annual output will be sufficient to power 4.733 homes, avoiding 1.096 tons of CO2 emissions being released in the atmosphere.
Several projects are already underway in Europe. In Belgium, the Flemish government announced six floating PV projects totaling 11,1 MW earlier in January. In Portugal, there are plans for a hybrid hydro-solar project which involves installing floating solar panels on a reservoir to supplement an existing hydro plant.