Through Guillaume Laurens
The date was meant to be symbolic. The day after the 20e anniversary of the explosion of the “AZF” factory, the biggest industrial disaster of modern times in France, the Oncopole solar power plant, was inaugurated on Wednesday September 22, 2021, approximately one after starting to generate electricity. Right next to the cancer research center, the Pink City is the largest solar power plant in urban areas of France. A power plant which, as we know little, is also … a work of land art.
A unique work of land art
The site, which does not go unnoticed below the Toulouse ring road, is intriguing with its aesthetics. The power station in fact imagined in earth art. A contemporary work of art, designed by the Toulouse artist Damien Aspe. On a model validated by the Architects of Buildings of France (ABF), the power plant in fact integrates ” a image pixelation seen from the sky ”, thanks to some 1,500 colored panels interspersed between the 35,000 photovoltaic modules.
To see from the plane… or from the future Téléo
The artist has carefully placed these colored panels, alternative file blue, the yellow, IOrange or the Pink, between the photovoltaic panels.
But it is only possible to see the final rendering from two aerial viewpoints : by taking the plane from Toulouse-Blagnac airport, or soon, on the future Téléo cable car … And the rendering changes depending on the perspective.
“This graphics allows a modification of the image according to the angle of vision, from the airport of Blagnac or Téléo the future cable car above the Garonne”.
Consumption of 19,000 inhabitants
The communities in action claim to have installed an “exemplary environmental project” at the Oncopole on “heavily polluted” land. With a capacity of 15 MW, the plant is located on 25 hectares, on the ashes of the AZF factory. Each year, it produces the equivalent of the consumption of 4,000 households, or about 19,000 inhabitants. And it is supposed to allow the metropolis of Toulouse to avoid the annual release of 6,000 tonnes of carbon (CO2). This is the French company Urbasolar, based at Montpellier (Herault) who designed, built and operates the site.
A public-private partnership
This plant requires an investment of 12.4 million euros, mainly driven by local authorities (Toulouse Métropole, the Toulouse Electricity Authority, the Regional Air Climate Energy Agency of the Occitanie Region), the Urbasolar group, not to mention from citizens, who have put their hands in their pockets through a cooperative society. They thus took part in the capital of the project company, and offered themselves a piece of this colorful powerhouse.
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