EDF Renouvelables

Solar energy

Capture the energy released by the sun's rays to produce electricity useful to all, this is the principle of photovoltaic solar energy.

Installed on the roof of houses or municipal buildings, abandoned motorways or even used to shade sheep or vineyards, solar panels produce inexhaustible, low-carbon energy.

What you must remember !

💡 The discovery of the photovoltaic effect dates from the first part of the 19th century. However, it was not until the 1950s that the first solar panels with significant efficiency appeared and the 1990s for their deployment on a larger scale. 

🦉 In France and around the world, EDF is one of the key players in solar energy with major projects combining low-carbon electricity production and respect for biodiversity.

📈 The development of solar energy is one of the means to accelerate the energy transition and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

🌤 A solar panel works thanks to ambient light, so it works even when it's gray! In France, solar energy provided nearly 5% of the electricity consumed in 2022.

♻ 94% of a solar panel is recyclable. In France, an eco-contribution is paid for each purchase of solar panel. It is then the eco-organism SOREN which is responsible for collecting and recycling the panels.

Rivière des Galets solar power plant (France)


What if we talked technical?

⚡ How does it work?

A solar panel is a device that uses sunlight to generate electricity. It is made up of several solar cells, which are special little pieces of material called semiconductors. These solar cells are mainly composed of silicon, an element found in sand. When sunlight hits these cells, it is absorbed by electrons in the material.

Sun radiation on photovoltaic modules (1) is transformed into direct electric current routed to an inverter (2).
The inverter converts this electricity into alternating current suitable for the grid.
The transformation station (3) then raises the electrical voltage to make it compatible with the network voltage.
Electricity finally joins the electricity grid (4) via a connection point.


Did you know ? 

An 18 hectare solar power plant, or around 99,000 panels (12MW), can produce the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 6,000 inhabitants.

⚡ Photovoltaic solar, concentrated solar, did you say solar?

Solar energy can be captured in several different ways:

  • Photovoltaic solar uses solar panels composed of cells that release electrons when exposed to light. This movement of electrons generates electricity that can be used to power our homes and cars.
  • Thermal or concentrated solar power uses the sun's rays to heat a fluid, for example water, by capturing heat from the sun's radiation. It's the same principle (but a little more technical 😉) than when water is left in the sun in summer. 

🏗 How to build a photovoltaic solar power plant?

It typically takes 5 years to develop a ground-mounted solar project. 

First of all, we look for a suitable location for the project. Then, we carry out studies to prepare a complete file (impact study) which will be submitted to the authorities. We also discuss the project with the people concerned on the ground: associations, local elected officials, local residents, etc. 

We apply for a building permit and prepare the file for review. Once the project is funded, we can build it.

BA136 solar power plant Toul-Rosières (France)
🔍 Focus 🔍
Can a solar panel be recycled?

Today, the recycling rate of a photovoltaic solar panel is estimated at nearly 94% based on crystalline silicon with aluminum frame. Recycling has been a regulatory obligation in France since 2012.

In France, for each purchase of solar panel, EDF Renewables must pay an eco-contribution which guarantees reprocessing of these panels at the end of their life.

SOREN is the approved eco-organization for the collection and recycling of used photovoltaic solar panels.

To know more

Solar panels ? Where ? How so ?

🗺 How to choose an area to install solar panels?

While it is important to accelerate the development of renewable energies such as photovoltaic solar energy, this must not be done to the detriment of natural spaces and biodiversity!

We therefore favor the installation of solar panels on what we call “artificialized” land, that is to say land that is already used by man. Installing a solar power plant can be an opportunity to reuse and give a second life to unused land, or even a polluted wasteland.. This is the case for former disused air bases and even former waste dumps, which host solar power plants!

BA136 solar power plant Toul-Rosières (France)
🔍 Focus 🔍
A second life in the sun!

In Dijon, EDF Renewables commissioned a solar power plant on the site of a former CET (Technical Landfill Center) which treated the city's waste and on which rubble and residue from construction sites were stored.

👉 Come, we'll take you 👀

What about the environment then?

🦉 Respect for biodiversity at the heart of projects!

Before building a solar power plant, we study the environment and biodiversity over several seasons. This helps us understand the issues of the site and take them into account in the design of the project. 

We also observe how animals move around the site and study the different plants that grow there.

These different studies then allow us to design the power plant using the ERC method, which aims to Avoid, Reduce or Compensate where applicable, the effects of the project on the environment.

Grand Guéret solar power plant (France)
🔍 Focus 🔍 Let the butterflies pass! 🦋

Near Guéret, in the Creuse, discover how we have preserved an ecological corridor in the middle of the solar power plant to allow butterflies and reptiles to cross the site.

Innovation, the solar power plants of tomorrow!

🌊 What if we made solar panels float?

In recent years, we have also seen the development of a new type of solar power plants, floating solar power plants! 

Installed on artificial water reservoirs, such as dam lakes, irrigation reservoirs or even drinking water reservoirs, these new type of power plants make it possible to produce low-carbon electricity, while limiting evaporation. of this precious resource that is water!

In France, LThe Lazer floating solar power plant in the Hautes-Alpes was commissioned in 2023. The electrical production of the solar panels complements the electrical production of the hydraulic dam on which the panels are installed, rather clever!

Throughout the world, EDF also benefits from recognized experience on similar projects located on irrigation reservoirs, particularly in Israel.

🐑 What if we used solar panels to protect crops?

Reconciling agriculture, animal welfare and photovoltaic solar production is the principle of what we call agrivoltaism!

For several years, EDF Group researchers and experts have been working to develop innovative and tailor-made solutions.

Among the advantages, solar panels can protect crops from climatic hazards such as hail or frost. They can also shade vines or livestock.

Sainte-Tulle solar power plant (France)
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Panels to protect the vines 🍇

Near Bordeaux, we are working with many players in the wine industry to set up an innovative agrivoltaic demonstrator: Vitisolar! 

Over a period of 5 years, this new type of demonstrator will make it possible to study the coexistence of solar panels on vine cultivation.

What does a solar power plant bring to a Region?

🏡 A power plant as close as possible to the territory

A solar power plant produces renewable, low-carbon energy, but that’s not all! A solar power plant can also give new life to a degraded, polluted or unused site.. It is also an opportunity for local authorities such as town halls to benefit from new taxes and economic benefits. 

Finally, this benefits the dynamism of the territory, which thus shows its commitment to the energy transition!

Saint Romain en Gal solar power plant (France)
🔍 Focus 🔍
Happy birthday to Toul-Rosières 🎂

Near Nancy, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our Toul-Rosières solar power plant. Installed on a former NATO air base, the power plant produces annually the equivalent of the electricity consumption of 55,000 inhabitants !


Solar panel : Device that converts sunlight into usable electricity. It is made of solar cells, usually made of silicon, which absorb photons from sunlight and generate an electric current. Solar panels are used to produce renewable energy, helping to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and combat climate change.

electricity : A form of energy that results from the movement of charged particles, called electrons. It can be produced in a variety of ways, including through power plants that use energy sources such as coal, natural gas, wind, solar or water. Electricity is used to power our electrical appliances, light our homes, operate machines and facilitate our communications. It is essential in our daily lives and plays a key role in technological and industrial development.

Consultation : Process of dialogue and discussion between different stakeholders with the aim of making decisions or developing common solutions. It aims to encourage the participation and involvement of all stakeholders, whether individuals, groups, organizations or institutions. Consultation makes it possible to take into account different points of view, find compromises and build a consensus to resolve problems or implement projects in a collaborative and democratic manner.

Biodiversity : Represents the wide variety of living things that exist on Earth, including animals, plants and microorganisms, as well as the different habitats in which they live. It plays a crucial role in maintaining the natural balance, providing essential services and ensuring the well-being of humanity. It is essential to preserve biodiversity to ensure the survival of species and preserve our environment.

EDF Renewables - Japan



Since 2022, EDF Renewables has been developing offshore wind projects in Japan. 

The objective: to contribute to the country's energy transition.