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EDF launches local crowdfunding effort for 2 French solar projects

French utility Electricité de France SA will finance two solar projects in southwestern France through a crowdfunding effort totaling €400,000, the company announced Jan. 7.

One solar farm in Ambès, in the Gironde department, will have a capacity of 9 MWp and be made up of more than 25,500 Trina Solar Ltd. panels. The other, based in Artix, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, will have a capacity of 4 MWp and will feature 11,000 Trina Solar panels.

Construction of the projects, which are each aiming for €200,000 of seed money, is set to start this month, with commissioning slated for June.

The money will be raised on French crowdfunding platform WiSeed SAS, where local small-scale investors can contribute upwards of €100 in return for a 5.5% annual return for four years. Only those living in the respective departments and its neighboring departments can pitch in, with funding expected to close in March. "These projects give locals the opportunity to take part in the energy and environmental transition of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region," EDF said.

"This shows once again that investment can be digital and meaningful, and have a real impact on the regional economy in our country," said Christophe Azaïs, director general at WiSeed.

Local funding approaches for new renewables projects have increased in popularity across Europe, in part because they are seen as an effective way to appease opposition from those living nearby.