Total moves deeper into solar energy market

Total said it viewed rooftop solar installations as a solution to French renewable energy needs.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Oct. 12, 2017 at 6:17 AM
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Oct. 12 (UPI) -- French energy company Total said Thursday it was playing an active role in the decarbonization of the French economy with a push deeper into the solar market.

After a call for tenders, Total's solar power subsidiary said it was working through a partnership with agricultural services company Groupe Carré on 70 projects for solar polar installations on building and carports across France. The combined capacity of all projects awarded is 32 megawatts.

"We see rooftop solutions as particularly suitable for the development of solar power in France," Julien Pouget, a senior vice president in charge of renewables for Total, said in a statement.

The move by Total is its second in the solar market in less than a month. The French supermajor in September made a $284.7 million investment to take an indirect 23 percent stake in renewable power company EREN RE. Total said it could eventually take the company over completely within the next five years.

Total said the momentum from EREN RE would allow it to accelerate its growth in solar energy and support a potential move into the wind power market. The September proposal was in line with Total's efforts to have 5 gigawatts of installed renewable energy capacity in its portfolio in five years.

France has one of the least carbonized electricity sectors among members of the European Union. The French government so far this year called for a ban on oil and gas exploration and said it would phase out the sales of new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles beginning in 2040.

For Total, the company started investing in solar energy in 2011 and set up its own solar affiliate earlier this year.

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