The solar plant spanning 25 hectares near the city centre of Toulouse is a project with many facets: The solar plant owned by Axpo is located on a polluted site belonging to a former fertiliser manufacturer. From the air it resembles a work of art. The project was co-funded by local residents.
Nearly 20 years ago, a devastating explosion occurred on the site of the AZF factory in Toulouse and traumatised its residents. Now a solar plant is about to go on grid on this stretch of land. The plant with an output of 15 MWp spans an area of 25 hectares and will produce 19,350 MWh of sustainable power annually. This volume covers the annual consumption of 4,100 households. Thanks to the cooperation between the Axpo subsidiary Urbasolar and the political and local stake-holders, this heavily polluted location has been rehabilitated to become symbolic environmental project.
The solar plant located in close proximity to Toulouse's city centre is striking in its aesthetics. The plant was designed by the French artist Damien Aspe as a land art installation. Multi-coloured panels were integrated in between the solar panels. The surface offers a varied picture, depending on the angle – for example from the Blagnac Airport or from the future cable-way over the Garonne River.
This is the first time a project of this scale was realised through funding by local organisations, such as Metropole Toulouse, the city utility, and the Energy and Climate Agency of the Occitan Region. Residents of the city in Southern France also had the opportunity to invest in the solar park and secure an annual return.
Thanks to this exemplary cooperation, Axpo’s subsidiary Urbasolar was able to commission the solar plant just one year after the first panel was installed. The facility in Toulouse is the largest urban solar plant every built.