Island (Region, Province, Country): La Reunion, France – Indian Ocean
Budget / cost of the project:
42 millions € – The project won a call for tenders and was entirely financed with private funds.
The project Cèdres fosters sustainability and autonomy of La Reunion, by creating local and green streams for electricity generation & storage and for agricultural production, in line with Agrinergie® principles. These benefits are extended to fish breeding with an Aquanergie® farm, that consists of photovoltaic sun screens above 12 fish rearing pools, exploited by Max Dyckerhoff, a Reunionese farmer.
Project description of activities and specific interventions:
With installed capacity of 9MW, the Cèdres solar farm is the second facility in La Reunion with integrated storage. With a capacity of 9MWh, this storage helps support the grid, thanks to stable and continuous electricity supply, thus cancelling out the effects of intermittence caused by weather conditions. The stored power at the Cèdres solar farm alone is sufficient to cover the energy needs of the entire town, making Etang Salé the first green energy town on La Réunion.
The solar farm spans two sites. The first is an Aquanergie® solar farm, consisting of photovoltaic sun screens above 12 fish rearing pools, with capacity of 1.5MWp. The second site is an Agrinergie® farm, where the photovoltaic screens have been raised to allow mechanized farming of the whole of the 7.5-hectare site. The agricultural partner for this site is Agriterra, an agricultural company partnered with Akuo Energy, which is developing a major permaculture project whose products are destined to the local market.
Public outreach, education and awareness efforts and results:
Agriterra maximizes local outreach by welcoming local schools to sensitized children to the stakes of energy and agricultural production. On the field, they are creating a “Perma’College”: its objective is to build awareness of permaculture amongst middle school students, through the creation of educational vegetable gardens in their schools.
Economic value added and how calculated:
The solar plant lowers the island’s dependency to fossil fuels and therefore secures electric production at a fix and lower price. Its economic balance is improved by the storage unit, that cancels out the effects of intermittence of solar power caused by weather conditions.
The economic value-added of the farm lies in higher production of better quality with less land. Production is boosted by permacultural techniques, that provide higher yields per square meters, estimated at ten times more than conventional agriculture. Moreover, the products from permaculture are entirely organic, giving them a higher economic value.
Aquanergie® has allowed Max Dyckerhoff to improve the conditions of fish breeding, and reach a better economic performance. The PV shades structures have indeed considerably reduced the death rate of fish and have eased the conditions of exploitation for the farmers.
Ecological and social project outcomes: With a total capacity of 9MW, the solar plant lowers the island’s dependency to fossil fuels and greens its electrical mix. Each year, the Cèdres powers 5 200 households, and therefore generates 11 376 tons of CO2 savings, covering 100% of the electrical needs of the city Etang Salé.
Agriterra has exploited the lands underneath the shading structures with permacultural techniques that have generated a return of biodiversity on previously used lands. The project mixes livestock, forestry and market gardening: these products are destined for the local market, lowering there again dependency to fossil fuels for food supply and participating in the development of the organic sector in La Reunion. Moreover, this new farm has created several agricultural jobs.