Sixteen years after the start of the project, the Côte Belle photovoltaic park was finally inaugurated in Montclar

Sixteen years after the start of the project, the Côte Belle photovoltaic park was finally inaugurated in Montclar
Sixteen years after the start of the project, the Côte Belle photovoltaic park was finally inaugurated in Montclar

The key word was perseverance” said with emotion Béatrice Savornin who, after having drafted the photovoltaic park project as town hall secretary, cut the ribbon 16 years later as mayor. “At the time we were far from thinking about the economic issues linked to the increase in the cost of energy, solar panels were just starting to appear on houses, there were many concerns but since then photovoltaics have proven themselves” she continued.

Without competing with the Serre-Ponçon dam, which produces electricity for more than 190,000 inhabitants, the Côte Belle park suffices for the needs of 2,700 people, the population of Pays de Seyne, thanks to its 8,400 capable panels. to produce 5,800 MWh and avoid 670 tonnes of CO2 per year. And again, the park extends over 4.2 ha while the initial project planned for 20.

8,400 panels

Laid out on old paths abandoned by the herds, where bushes and low-value wood had taken over, it will accommodate sheep who will come and eat the tall grass, plant cover essential to avoid gullying under the panels: the combination of the agriculture and industrial projects.

In the wake of the mayor who pleaded for administrative simplification, Manuel Vieille-Grosjean, Voltalia Paca development manager, spoke of the multitude of studies, acts and other public inquiries which delayed the completion. He also specified that the construction of this park constituted a real challenge and a technical feat, the site being located in an alpine environment on the mountainside characterized by steep slopes of up to 50% at an altitude of 1,350 m.

A situation which generated an additional cost of around 30% and extended the duration of the project but made it possible to develop land with low agricultural or urban potential. “This very cheap energy is local, inexhaustible, reversible and saves significant quantities of resources or emissions compared to other modes of production.” he specified. It will not be consumed on site because Voltalia specializes in supplying large buyers (SNCF, Renault, Auchan, Bonduelle, Décathlon).

On an economic level, the local benefits will therefore consist of property taxes and the annual rent of around €17,000 indexed to the price of electricity. “This project is, moreover, the only one that connects the top and bottom of the commune, historically in conflict.” concluded the mayor, before delivering the “recipe”: “It’s a bit like making a good cake: a handful of deliberations, a few kilos of studies, a pinch of land clearing, a pinch of revision of the PLU, an ounce of long-term lease, grams of companies, a dose of local residents and a lot of perseverance“.

Ingredients to keep since the Montclar photovoltaic adventure has only just begun and continues with the installation of snow barriers intended to power the Belvédère chairlift on the Chau plateau…

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