Rest in peace – solar PV system above a cemetery


  • French associations Brier’energie and RECIT are deploying photovoltaic shades above a cemetery as part of a collective self-consumption operation.
  • The project will supply electricity from the summer of 2025 to the 4,000 inhabitants of the commune of Saint-Joachim, Pays de la Loire, France.

About 420 citizens have agreed to pay an entry fee of €5 ($5.20) to become consumers of the energy that will be produced by the shades.

“Made up of 5,000 photovoltaic panels, the future plant will extend over 8,000 m2 and offer a power of 1.3 MW,” Éric Boquaire, the president of Brier’energie, told pv magazine.

In addition to producing electricity, the PV shade structures will prevent the flooding of the cemetery, which is located in a marshy area, by collecting rainwater for a neighboring sports complex.

The municipality will fully finance the €3.35 million ($3.6 million) installation, using tax capital gains from a 7% property tax increase due to inflation, redistributed to the community.

The facility will equitably share the electricity produced without favoring or penalizing any consumers.

“It will be necessary to constantly manage the power stream from and to the grid on the one hand, but also to establish distribution rules between participants, by defining distribution rules,” said Boquaire.

The two standard distribution parameters proposed by French grid operator Enedis – static or dynamic by default – were not suitable and it was necessary to come up with one capable of ensuring equal treatment between every participant.

“We have defined a dynamic citizen distribution module according to the following rule: one consumer – the same right to consume, with redistribution of the surplus,” said Boquaire. “This key is not based on mathematics, but on an algorithm that must be created from scratch.”

A dedicated company will calculate encrypted data, collected every 30 minutes from hundreds of users. Every month, it will send Enedis a summary sheet of results, enabling deductions for participating subscribers’ invoices.

The next stage of the project will concern the assembly of a prototype from March 18 on a small part of the cemetery (180 square meters), to check the integration of the future solar plant into its environment. According to Brier’energie, the operation should enable participants to save an average of €150 to €250 on their annual electricity bills.

Author: Francois Puthod

This article was originally published in pv magazine and is republished with permission.

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