French Company Increases Solar Capacity

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Total’s involvement in solar energy. The company founded Total Energie, a unit specialized in solar power, in early summer 1983, and will soon be building a solar panel production plant in Toulouse with a capacity of 5 MW a year. The facility is scheduled to be commissioned in early 2004. Its output will be sufficient to install solar panels on the roofs of around 2,500 homes a year in Europe.

Lyons, France – June 12, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Now a joint subsidiary of Total and French utility Electricité de France, Total Energie based near Lyons, France, can leverage a network of around 15 subsidiaries, mainly in the French overseas departments and territories, in African countries, Madagascar and Germany. The company is particularly active in four areas incorporating PV: pumping, commercial applications, isolated systems and grid connections. Among these projects are two major rural electrification programs, one in Morocco (16,000 households) and one in South Africa (15,000 households). These programs, deployed in isolated areas, will give access to lighting and some appliances to thousands of people previously without electricity. The creation of Total Energie 20 years ago was the starting point of Total’s commitment to developing applications for renewable energy. The company gradually extended its initiatives, mainly in wind and solar power and just recently inaugurated its first wind turbines at the Mardyck refinery, near Dunkirk, France. In addition, Photovoltech, in which Total has a 42.5 percent interest, is building a plant in Tienen, Belgium, scheduled for completion in early fall. The facility will produce high-efficiency polycrystalline silicon-based photovoltaic cells and have an annual capacity of close to 10 MW.

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