What is this citizen solar power plant project at the Friche la Belle de Mai?

With this solar power plant project at the Friche la Belle de Mai, a stone’s throw from Saint-Charles station in Marseille, the corporate citizen Massilia Sun System is changing scale. This time, the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 120 families will be produced (approximately 350 MWh per year), ten times more than the installation at L’Estaque on the roof of the residence of La Déviation artists. It was in 2019 and the collective then launched its first fundraiser. “It’s possible and it works,” smiles today Timothée Demont, one of the founders of Massilia Sun System, which in a few years has grown from 20 to 180 members, most of them residents of Marseille and surrounding towns.

The roof chosen to accommodate the 800 photovoltaic panels is that of the Cartonnerie. It is the largest covered area of ​​the Friche, dedicated to major events, which at the time of the Seita factory was used for packaging tobacco. “The Massilia Sun System proposal is in line with our strategy to reduce our energy footprint,” says Alban Corbier-Labasse, director of La Friche. We want to pose as a laboratory where we experiment and a showcase where we show the possible achievements, so that it serves as advocacy. »

Installation at the end of the summer

“La Friche is an emblematic place in Marseille, which brings together different audiences and makes it possible to reach a large number of people”, continues Timothée Demont, who is already planning educational visits on solar energy. The 800 photovoltaic panels must be placed on a refurbished roof at the end of summer 2022. The time to complete the financial package, with the new fundraising in progress.

The objective is to collect 100,000 euros by May 20, which will be supplemented by the bank loan. It is not a crowdfunding, but rather a citizen savings. Anyone who supports the project subscribes to a share. It then becomes co-owner of the solar installation via the “solidarity company of social utility” Massilia Sun System.

Models adapted to each site

The electricity produced will not be used by the Friche la Belle de Mai for its own consumption, but sold on the public electricity network. “We try to find models adapted to each site,” explains Timothée Demont. In parallel with the Friche, the collective is leading a project to install a power station on the roof of an associative nursing home near Aix-en-Provence. There, the electricity produced will supply the building, whose energy needs are mainly during the day, unlike the Wasteland.

“Each time, we try to find a win-win partnership,” notes Timothée Demont. With the advance rents paid to La Friche, for the “rental” of the roof, the latter was able to refurbish it and better insulate it. As for the Ehpad, injecting self-consumption of electricity produced by photovoltaic panels allows it to reduce its electricity bill. Massilia Sun System, which does not intend to stop there, sees a bright future, with new solar power plants in town.

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