Accelerating the energy transition with solar power plants

Published on 13 February 2024
We need more large-scale solar power plants to make a real difference and move the energy transition forward”
GUILLAUME MAURY, Head of Construction at Third Step Energy (TSE)

How can we change the energy mix and massively increase renewable electricity production in the coming years?

 

By 2030, France aims for renewables to make up 40% of its energy mix, versus 20% today. That’s an ambitious goal given the challenges to be overcome, like the technical difficulties involved in connecting the many scattered production sites to the electrical grid. To meet the target, we really need to move up a gear in all forms of renewable energy, starting now. That includes wind, biomass, hydro, geothermal and, of course, solar. At TSE, we specialise in the development of solar power plants and agrivoltaic solutions – i.e., solar systems set up on farmland. We currently operate 51 facilities, but the Marville plant in the Meuse region (France) is one of our most emblematic. It spans almost 80 hectares and consists of 364,000 photovoltaic panels, making it the second-largest solar PV plant in the country. 

SPIE was our partner of choice for this project, providing a turnkey plant installation solution ranging from the purchasing of materials to start-up. The Group mobilised up to 160 people per day on the site and contributed tailor-made technical solutions too. One example that comes to mind is the use of bifacial modules, which can generate 5% to 8% more energy than standard solar panels. I have to say that SPIE knows us well though, because we’ve been working together for over ten years. With an annual output of 160 GWh, the Marville plant generates enough power to supply 90% of the neighbouring Greater Verdun area. We plan to keep developing projects like this in the coming years, because we need more large-scale solar power plants to make a real difference and move the energy transition forward

Interview with Guillaume Maury from Third Step Energy - How massively increase renewable electricity production? Guillaume explains how SPIE supported TSE on the photovoltaic plant in Marville (France);

My name is Guillaume Maury, and I am the head of the construction department at TSE.

TSE is a company specializing in the development of photovoltaic projects. We also have a significant research activity focused on agrivoltaics, which involves the application of solar technology on agricultural fields. The challenges faced by the photovoltaic sector are numerous.

On the positive side, there is a very strong growth and demand for energy. However, on the flip side, we encounter many administrative difficulties. Projects take a very long time to materialize, and we face technical challenges in connecting to the networks. Additionally, there has been a surge in the prices of raw materials for over a year now, linked to the international context. We strive to be innovative and propose new solutions that are more easily acceptable to authorities. This is also why we have invested heavily in agrivoltaics, which we believe is the future of solar energy. Of course, we surround ourselves with the best partners to carry out our projects. SPIE has been supporting us for over 10 years in the implementation of our projects. Recently, the two largest projects undertaken by TSE were done in collaboration with SPIE at the Marville solar plant, which is the second-largest photovoltaic plant in France. SPIE is a privileged partner in construction, providing complete turnkey construction of the plant—from the purchase of materials, installation, all electrical connections, and up to the commissioning of the sites. Since the early days of the solar boom in France in 2008, they have been present, accumulating experience surpassing most of their competitors. Their professionalism, commitment, financial stability, and legal solidity are evident through all the support services, contributing to the confidence of the investors. It's truly a combination of professionalism, competence, and trust.