When it was created in 2006, Ciel & Terre, founded by Bernard Prouvost, developed, installed and operated photovoltaic power plants, installed on rooftops and on the ground, in France and on Reunion Island. He soon realized the potential of unused aquatic areas for producing more renewable energy. So, he set himself a goal: to propose an alternative to fossil fuels and preserve valuable land while contributing to the emergence of a greener and more sustainable economy.
After two years of R&D, the company developed an innovative technology that its founder patented in 2011: the Hydrelio system was born!
Converting unused water surfaces into profitable energy-producing areas.
The system’s concept is based on its ability to be installed on the surface of water. This floating system can generate electricity on artificial water reservoirs, so it does not affect the precious land intended for human activity or the conservation of natural or wooded areas. Dams, irrigation basins, drinking water reservoirs, aquaculture ponds, quarry lakes, and more, are all available aquatic surfaces which could “unlock a great number of potential areas for electricity production, thus preserving the areas intended for agriculture and other economic, social or leisure activities, while making the most of unused spaces”, according to the company’s directors.
A reliable, simple, durable and affordable floating PE-HD system
The structure, designed to maintain the photovoltaic panels on the surface of water, comprised of modular PE-HD (High Density Polyethylene) floats that can be assembled like Lego: a reliable and very simplified system that can be installed without tools, quickly, and at a competitive price. The material selected for the task, used in buoys and floats designed to spend extended amounts of time on the high seas, is extremely resistant to UV rays, corrosion, strong winds up to 210 km/h, water level variations and high waves. The Hydrelio system requires little maintenance, its modularity enables it to support most types of solar panels, and it can be upgraded. This easy to assemble system is just as easy to dismantle: once dismantled, the floats are crushed and recycled.
Thanks to its “solar on water” concept, Ciel et Terre has gone from being a pioneer to a world leader in this market. 180 floating photovoltaic projects have been set up around the world, mainly in Asia, including in India, Japan and China. In order to keep transport costs down and promote local employment, Ciel et Terre has opened manufacturing lines in each country in which the company has a presence.