Monaco’s largest solar power station unveiled

A giant solar power station has been inaugurated on the roof of Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum, marking a significant milestone in the Principality’s energy transition. Eventually, electricity generated from the station will be used to power the new eco-district.

The major photovoltaic project was launched in April 2019, when the Grimaldi Forum signed a ‘SunE’ contract with SMEG pledging to finance and build the urban solar power station on top of the Principality’s congress and culture centre, and to operate it for at least 15 years.

It was a strategic move, considering the Grimaldi Forum will soon be integrated into the eco-district of the future land extension, which will be a showcase of the country’s energy transition. Electricity generated by the solar power plant will be reinjected into the grid and utilised by nearby buildings, including the Grimaldi Forum and the Anse du Portier shipyard. Eventually, it will meet the energy needs of the entire new neighbourhood.

Photo courtesy: the Grimaldi Forum

Positioned on the coast with a height of just over 15 metres, the building was a perfect candidate for the solar power station. However, it wasn’t an easy process. A number of precautions, studies and ancillary operations were needed, in particular new waterproofing and the positioning of installation anchors. One of the main challenges was to limit the weight of the components as much as possible on the roof of Espace Ravel, the main exhibition hall and the largest area of the Grimaldi Forum.

“Keeping the congress centre running, without any disruption during the construction period, was an additional challenge,” said Sylvie Biancheri, General Manager of the Grimaldi Forum.

But those challenges were overcome and now, at 2,500 m2 and with 1,500 modules producing an annual output of nearly 650 MWh, the Grimaldi Forum is the largest photovoltaic producer in Monaco.

HSH Prince Albert II with, from left to right: R.Rolland – Administrator of the Domains of Monaco, A. Jaeger-Seydoux – Director of the Mission for Energy Transition, C.Gomez – Director General in the Equipment Department, Environment and Urbanism, JL. Nguyen – Director of Public Works, H. Fissore – President of the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, Bernard Fautrier – Vice-President and Managing Director of the Prince Albert II Foundation, Minister Plenipotentiary in charge of missions to the Ministry of State for Development Issues sustainable, MP. Gramaglia – Government Counselor – Minister of Equipment, Environment and Urbanism, Sylvie Biancheri – Managing Director of Grimaldi Forum Monaco, A. Cardoso – President of SMEG, T. Battaglione – Director Director General of the SMEG. Photo courtesy: the Grimaldi Forum

“We opted for the high-efficiency sunpower E22-360-com solar panel technology that is up to 20% more efficient than traditional modules,” revealed Thomas Battaglione, Managing Director of SMEG. “The annual production of about 640,000 kWh will supply electricity to the equivalent of 170 households in the Principality.”

The construction of the Grimaldi Forum solar power plant is part of the Government of Monaco’s proactive energy transition policy.

Meanwhile, the Grimaldi Forum has long built a green policy into its corporate strategy, obtaining ISO 14 0001 certification in 2008, one of the first convention centres in the world to achieve the international environmental performance standards. Within 10 years, the congress and culture centre has managed to cut its overall water consumption by 2.5, increase its recycling efforts by 2.5, and reduce its energy consumption by 25%. An agreement with SMEG also allows it to consume 100% green energy.