Renewables TotalEnergies, Altergie Développement and APRR open the first ground-mounted solar power plant in France’s Savoie region

Lyon, 27 October 2021 - As part of its low carbon strategy APRR has provided TotalEnergies and Altergie with a disused plot next to the motorway on which to build and operate the “Mérysol” photovoltaic power plant.

The first of its type in Savoie, the solar power plant has been operational since 23 December 2020. With a total power of 5 MWp, the plant’s 11,340 solar panels will produce the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 4,672 inhabitants and will enable CO2 emissions to be reduced by 191 tonnes per year. Winner of the “CRE 4” tender in August 2018, this project benefits from a fixed purchase tariff for its production for 20 years. The power produced is injected into the local power distribution grid.  

The final characteristics of the plant were defined in close collaboration with the site’s residents: a separate site access from the south was favoured, as well as a junction alongside the motorway to avoid municipal roadways. Tall trees and evergreen hedges have been planted around the plant to limit its visual impact for the surrounding dwellings.  

In cooperation with a cattle farmer who lives next to the site, an experiment will be carried out to study how the Aubrac heifers can live alongside the ground-mounted photovoltaic panels. An initial plot of the 1-hectare power plant will be sown with a mix of grasses approved by the farmer and expert naturalists. At the end of this test, the first in France on this particular species of cattle, and which will include observing how the animals behave with respect to the structures, the whole site will be sown and the herd will then have free access to the whole power plant site.

“This first solar farm next to the A41 perfectly illustrates APRR Group’s low carbon strategy," explains Guillaume Hérent, Deputy General Director of APRR. "It is essential that we control the environmental impact of our activities, protecting biodiversity and limiting our greenhouse gas emissions. This involves the implementation of innovative solutions, through targeted partnerships like this one. We intend to replicate this first success elsewhere: we are already working on other photovoltaic farm projects across our motorway network.”

“We are so pleased that APRR placed its trust in us for its first project next to a motorway," adds Jean-Charles Lavigne Delville, CEO of Altergie Développement and CEO of Merysol. "We are also extremely proud that we were able to develop, in partnership with TotalEnergies, the first ground-mounted solar plant in Savoie, a territory on which we weren't previously present”.

“We are delighted with the outcome of the project," adds Laurent Groleau, Regional Development Director, East, TotalEnergies Renewables France. "We developed it by continually consulting with our partners and local stakeholders: co-design of the project, selection of local suppliers, environmental, landscaping and agricultural measures for the construction and operation phases, etc. This work demonstrates the commitment and know-how of our teams in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. This success drives us to continue supporting the projects of the regions, and so contributing to achieving collective renewable energy deployment targets”.