Acciona and Dhamma Energy sign an agreement to develop 250 MW of photovoltaic power in France

Acciona will provide the technical consultancy, construction, operation and maintenance of the plant, developed and operated by Dhamma Energy in Francia.

The global renewables operator Acciona Energy and the Franco-Spanish group Dhamma Energy have signed a framework cooperation agreement to implement photovoltaic plants in France. The first milestone in the process will be the construction of a 12 Mwp plant – the biggest in terms of size of all those operational in French territory – in the Département of Ardèche (Rhône Alpes).

Under the agreement, Acciona will provide all the aspects related to technology, engineering and design, and it will also carry out the construction, operation and maintenance of the facilities promoted and developed by Dhamma Energy in France, a country in which this group has an order portfolio of photovoltaic projects for more than 250 MW.

The alliance between the two groups was made public last week during the "Spanish-French meeting on the development of renewables and the Mediterranean Solar Power Plan" held within the framework of the "GENERA 2010" Energy and Environment International Trade Fair in Madrid.

Initial installation

The first project undertaken under the agreement signed between the groups is a 12 Mwp photovoltaic solar tracking plant located in the aerodrome of southern Ardèche, in the region of Rhône-Alpes.

The plant will cover a surface area of 32 hectares and has the highest capacity of those currently operational in France. Its production -around 18 GWh per annum- will be equivalent to the electricity consumption 7,100 homes in the area. Together with the automated tracking of the sun, the plant will have the most advanced control and monitoring system in the sector.

The Dhamma Energy Group already holds the rights to occupy the site for 22 years, the period in which it will operate the plant under its ownership, while ACCIONA will take care of the construction, operation and maintenance of the plant.

Both companies are confident that another six will follow it in the short term. Five of them will have similar capacity and the sixth will be bigger; all are at an advanced stage of development.

France, a growing photovoltaic market

Miguel Arrarás, Director of Photovoltaic Business Development of ACCIONA Energy, says that the strategic alliance with Dhamma Energy "allows us to enter the French photovoltaic sector by working with a very experienced partner that has in-depth knowledge of the market at a time when considerable growth prospects are forecast for France thanks to the regulatory framework".

For his part, co-founder and President of Dhamma Energy Philippe Esposito stated that "the agreement with Acciona will enable Dhamma Energy to receive technical support from a top-quality partner and, thanks to its experience, develop projects with a highest possible technological level in French market, with incomparable security for the future operation of the plants".

Dhamma Energy has carried out considerable promotion and development in order to install photovoltaic plants in France. It has a project portfolio for 230 MW of rated power, in addition to a further 20 MW in car park shelters and roofs, bringing the total investment close to 1,000 million euros.

For its part, Acciona has extensive experience in the photovoltaic solar sector, in which it has materialised 115 MWp in a number of plants, with a total investment of around 730 million euros.

Of this figure, 69 MWp are located in Spain, mainly through the so-called "solar gardens" – facilities whose ownership is shared by more than 3.500 customers.

In Portugal, Acciona owns and operates the 45.8 MWp photovoltaic plant at Amareleja, representing an investment of around 260 million euros. It is the plant of its type that has the highest production in the world: around 93 GWh per annum.

ACCIONA Energy focuses its activity on wind power. Its installed capacity in wind energy was 7,702 MW at 31 September 2009. It has implemented 271 wind farms with 7,275 wind turbines (both for itself and for other customers), making it the world leader in the development and construction of wind power facilities.