Seine-Saint-Denis: Smirec aims for energy autonomy thanks to solar panels

Seine-Saint-Denis: Smirec aims for energy autonomy thanks to solar panels

Posted Nov 17, 2022, 6:39 PM

Even energy producers need energy… The Syndicat Mixte des Réseaux d’Energie Calorifique (Smirec), public operator of the production and distribution of heat and cold in eight municipalities of the Plaine Commune intermunicipal community (Seine-Saint -Denis), inaugurated its first photovoltaic power plant on November 17.

Composed of 200 square meters of solar panels on the roof of its boiler room in La Courneuve, it will supply 20% of the needs, or 38 MWh per year. A modest first project, but which foreshadows a new ambition for the Syndicate.

Develop the concept through partnerships

“It is true that this may seem minor, but given current electricity prices, a little self-sufficiency is always good to take,” said Laurent Monnet, president of Smirec. “The problem is that we are constrained by the small surface area of ​​our power plants. And again: that of Courneuve is one of our last gas boilers. Geothermal power plants have many more heat pumps, and are therefore much more consuming,” he admits.

For this reason, it is now considering a partnership with the social landlord Plaine Commune Habitat, which owns several buildings near the La Courneuve power plant. The idea: install photovoltaic panels on the roofs of these buildings, and buy back their production to supply the power plant.

An economic and ecological advantage

“Collective housing is ill-suited to self-consumption of solar energy: residents consume mainly in the evening, when the panels no longer produce”, notes Laurent Monnet. “On the other hand, and perhaps subject to a shared investment, we can commit to a long-term purchase contract. The residence will lower its charges, and we will have access to cheaper electricity, and above all at a stable price”.

In addition, this allows Smirec to green its energy mix, a major issue for the union. Only downside: to meet reasonable deadlines, he was forced to buy his photovoltaic panels in Asia, a solution he considers unsatisfactory in terms of environmental footprint.

A difficulty that will not stop the syndicate: as soon as an agreement is concluded with Plaine Commune Habitat, it intends to draw up a real Photovoltaic Plan to multiply this type of partnership.

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