Project development

The aim of a solar power plant is to produce electricity for at least 20 years making it a “green” property asset with a long-term investment return. During the project development phase, our teams are genuinely concerned with optimising technical, economic and environmental performance in the long term.

GÉNÉRALE DU SOLAIRE is aware of the importance of project development and design. To this end, the Group has decided to integrate the development, engineering and construction phases. This enables GÉNÉRALE DU SOLAIRE to pool the knowledge and expertise of all its team members and it allows maximising their potential. An illustration of the effectiveness of this strategy is the high number of bids won and the quality of the assets developed by the Group for its own portfolio or for third parties.

Innovation, quality and competitiveness are GÉNÉRALE DU SOLAIRE’s main priorities.

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Technical, economic and environmental feasibility studies

Once a site has been identified, the teams of GÉNÉRALE DU SOLAIRE perform a complete technical and economic feasibility study.

From a technical point of view, the in-house engineering department designs the preliminary project, taking into account the site parameters. This team also conducts a preliminary solar irradiation study and an electricity generation estimation based on meteorological data. In the case of a self-consumption project, the team additionally studies the consumption patterns of the end-user in order to design a photovoltaic system consistent with their real electricity needs.

From an economic point of view, in the development phase we estimate the global investment amount and we prepare a provisional schedule. With these elements, an initial business plan can be elaborated, which is crucial for the economic feasibility assessment.

From an environmental point of view, the project is designed with a genuine desire to minimise its environmental impact and ensure that its architecture fits harmoniously within the local landscape. This assessment is done in close consultation with the local authorities.

Securing the property rights

Potential sites, whether they are on roofs or ground mounted, are selected by GÉNÉRALE DU SOLAIRE’s teams with the greatest care. Securing the property rights for a project is usually done in two steps: firstly, a preliminary agreement is signed during the development phase and secondly, a final lease or sale agreement is contracted defining the terms and reference for the construction and the operation of the power plant.

When the owner is private, the deed is concluded in front of a notary and takes the form of a sale or a lease agreement. In the case of a public property made available by a local authority, the temporary lease agreement (or the concession agreement) is usually granted following a public tender procedure.

Administrative procedures

GÉNÉRALE DU SOLAIRE manages all the administrative procedures regarding the project development. The in-house development teams are in charge of obtaining the construction and operation permits for the power plant, whose purpose is to produce electricity for at least 20 years or more, depending on the country. These procedures are meticulously carried out by our in-house teams and consist mainly in:

– obtaining planning approval from the local authorities;

– dividing the land parcels with a surveyor at the land registry;

– planning the grid connection works with the electricity distribution system operator, etc.

Signing the power purchase agreement (PPA)

The return on investment of a photovoltaic project depends mostly on the terms and references under which the electricity produced will be sold. GÉNÉRALE DU SOLAIRE does all the procedures to obtain and sign power purchase agreements (PPA) on behalf of its subsidiaries, its partners and customers. In France, a PPA can be obtained either through the power purchase obligation mechanism, with fixed indexed feed-in-tariffs, or by tendering for higher feed-in-tariffs. The French Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) organises calls for tenders for two different market segments: a specific procedure is available for the projects with a capacity between 100 and 500 kWp and another one for the projects above 500 kWp. Through these mechanisms, French photovoltaic projects can obtain a Contract for Difference (CfD) defining the terms under which the generated photovoltaic electricity will be given a bonus for 20 years, after it has been sold on the electricity market.

Since 2011, GÉNÉRALE DU SOLAIRE has won more than 168 projects at the CRE bids. These projects amounting for a capacity of more than 66 MWp confirm the Group’s project development expertise and its status as a major player in the French solar industry.

GÉNÉRALE DU SOLAIRE’s efficiency and quality has also been demonstrated on several occasions on the international photovoltaic market. For instance, GÉNÉRALE DU SOLAIRE’s projects were preselected at several international calls for tenders, such as Togo, Côte d’Ivoire or Italia.