Marseille, March 11, 2021 – For the CVE Group, an independent French producer of renewable energy, 2020 was a year rich in growth and new projects, both in France and around the world. CVE has developed an original vision: Decentralized power production and a direct sales model targeted to suppliers, businesses, and communities. In 2020, as the pandemic and economic crisis wore on, this approach proved its worth. CVE allows its clients to secure a supply of locally-produced renewable energy, while also getting firmer control over their energy usage costs in the long term. These benefits are welcome in such a time of uncertainty.

Steady growth, based on three types of renewable energy:

Created in 2009, CVE produces three types of renewable energy:

  • photovoltaic electricity
  • hydroelectric electricity
  • green gas from its methanation activity

In 2020, the Group’s installed base grew 50%, from 294 to 440 MW. Production increased by nearly 60%, rising to 729 GWh, equivalent to the electricity consumed by a city of nearly 320,000 people.

At the same time, CVE’s energy sales figures grew just 17%, from €32 million in 2019 to €37.4 million in 2020, due to postponed project completions in 2020 primarily as a result of COVID. Revenue earned from the operational and under-construction base over the full year grew by 27% to €76 million.

The workforce, meanwhile, was expanded by 30% in 2020, and the Group passed the mark of 200 employees worldwide. Their numbers will continue to grow in 2021, by another 30%.

In France: The RespeeR solution succeeds and the biogas business expands

  • RespeeR is one of CVE’s leading solutions, providing green electricity to suppliers, businesses, and communities in the form of two offers:
    • The PPA (Power Purchase Agreement). This long-term contract between a photovoltaic energy producer and an energy consumer offers the client two essential benefits: Protection against the volatility of energy prices, and the use of green energy produced in France with guarantees of its origin.
    • Self-consumption: With this even more closely-sited option, the CVE Group installs a photovoltaic generator on the client’s premises (e.g. on rooftops or parking lot canopies). Next, the generator’s output is made available to the client, upstream of the meter.

This increasingly popular solution helped CVE’s photovoltaic fleet in France grow in 2020. This development is continuing, with several new plants entering operation, particularly in Ur (Pyrénées-Orientales), Les Mées (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), and Bissey (Saône-et-Loire).

At the same time, impact studies have been finalized, and building permits are now being filed, for two new projects: The Mallemort plant, made to supply electricity to people living in the Aix-Marseille metro area, and the plant being developed in partnership with the energy distributor and supplier Gedia, which will power Dreux with local green energy.

Finally, engineering studies have begun in order to construct a self-consumption plant in building J1 of Marseille-Fos Port.

  • The biogas business, meanwhile, accelerated sharply in France in 2020, with the fleet growing by 45%. Three new plants are now under construction: Equimeth (Seine-et-Marne), Saint Antoine de Breuilh (Dordogne), and Montbrison (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes). The first two plants will enter operation in 2021, with the third doing the same in the first half of 2022. Furthermore, 14 biomethane sale contracts have been signed for units in the late stages of development.

Organic waste collection, a key input in the process, saw its second busy year, with over 100,000 tons secured. And further along the value chain, our RégeneR operation that makes use of our organic fertilizers contracted with 250 farms for application on over 33,000 hectares of land.

International: Strong development in Africa and North America

  • In Africa: Continued development, new plants, and a subsidiary opening in South Africa.
  • In South Africa, CVE currently operates three photovoltaic plants: Pick’n Pay since 2019, and Viking Park 1&2 and Mega Park since 2020. The power produced by these plants is sold directly to the company Spear through the RespeeR plan. CVE is currently creating a subsidiary in South Africa, continuing its development in this high-potential country.
  • In Kenya, CVE is developing a52 MW power plant project west of Nairobi. Land acquisition is currently being finalized, as is the negotiation of a power purchase agreement with Kenya Power and Lighting Company.
  • In Senegal, the solar plant of the Kirene agro-industrial group will begin construction in March 2021. Through the RespeeR plan, it will provide nearly 30% of the energy needs of its production facility. At the same time, CVE is developing a microgrid plant project (producing and storing solar power) with APROSI, a government agency that manages land use for industrial sites. This project will enter service in Q1 2021.
  • In the United States: Team size doubled to tackle major ambitions

In 2020, after three years of development, six plants were built in Massachusetts under the SMART program, totaling 31.8 MW. Three of these plants have entered operation (Russel, Westport, and Peru) since the start of the year, for a total of 11.8 MW.

The other three plants, which are waiting to be hooked up to the grid, will enter operation in 2021. Furthermore, construction work has begun for two other plants: The Torpedo and Apollo projects, representing a total of 4.2 MW, one of which incorporates a storage solution with a capacity of 1.3 MWp.

CVE has big ambitions in the United States, and is planning for an installed base of 350 MW by 2025, compared to just under 40 MW today. To support this development, CVE’s team in North America doubled in size in 2020 and now includes 18 employees.

“For us, like everyone else in this economy, 2020 was an unusual year,” says Pierre de Froidefond, who co-founded CVE alongside Hervé Lucas. “Our teams were able to adapt and show how resilient they are. Thanks to their efforts, we’ve been able to stay on track for our development goals. We’ve also found we can count on the trust and solid support of our partners, foremost among them ICG, which has invested €100 million to finance our development plan. All of this has allowed us to continue with hiring, projects, and construction and limit the impact of the crisis. We are starting 2021 with determination, at a time when our solutions seem more clearly relevant than ever.” 

By 2025, CVE plans to multiply its installed capacity fivefold to 2.3 GW, more than 55% of which will be deployed outside France.

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