Harmon’Yeu, launched with the town hall of Île d'Yeu, is a collective self-consumption project involving solar energy. The first of its kind in France, it enables 23 households to share the electricity generated by five of them using photovoltaic panels installed on their roofs. Electricity that is not consumed instantly is stored in a communal battery and then in hot water tanks for later use. The energy is distributed dynamically using smart software developed by ENGIE.
On 2 July, ENGIE, the town hall of Île d'Yeu and three other partners, along with residents, are inaugurating the Harmon’Yeu experiment. The project, which was launched in November 2018, attracted support from the inhabitants of 23 homes in this island community off the Vendée coast of western France. Following meetings and technical eligibility tests, ENGIE began installing the equipment. Production started in March 2020 with a trial period set to last two years.
ENGIE supplies producers with solar panels and an inverter. Consumers and producers benefit from the installation of a communicating socket and small tiko smart meter displaying energy consumption data. A total of 64 solar panels were installed on five detached homes that volunteered for the project, representing a total solar capacity of 23.7 kWp. The community also benefits from a communal storage battery, installed in the home of one of the consumers.
As in the 30 or so other experiments conducted into collective self-consumption in France, the energy produced is used by the consumers. But – and this is a first in France – it is also produced by several detached houses, transported to a storage battery if there is a surplus and allocated to homes by smart software developed by ENGIE Laborelec. This meant that 96% of the electricity produced during the first three months of the experiment was consumed, meeting 28% of the needs of the households involved.
From a legal perspective, the project is organized around an “organizing legal entity”: an association called “Communauté d’Energie Ile d’Yeu” of which both producers and consumers are members. This collective self-consumption project was recently made possible as the result of a broader regulatory framework and the growing demand for renewable energy in France.
This experience is the result of the partnership between ENGIE and the town of Île d'Yeu, supported by Vendée Habitat, SyDEV – the department’s energy and infrastructure agency – and the Elise association which “offers communities partnerships in order to support individuals with their construction, renovation and renewable energy projects.” Local enthusiasm and the commitment of the inhabitants were essential to give birth to this project, which has also been certified by the SMILE (SMart Ideas to Link Energies) association, which is active in Brittany and the Pays de la Loire.
For residents, in addition to accelerating the energy and ecological transition, which they are contributing to directly, the project also helps cut electricity bills1. A dedicated interface allows them to monitor their individual and collective consumption and production in real time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
After widening French consumers’ access to green electricity in 2016 (through the renewable energy source guarantee), since 2017 the Group has been encouraging its customers to self-produce locally, with its My power range of modular and turnkey solutions for individual self-consumption. This collective self-consumption project for consumers represents a further commitment by ENGIE in its initiatives to support the energy transition.
ENGIE’s objective is to encourage, develop and offer its private customers a whole new way of understanding and consuming their energy. The challenge is to give them the possibility of sharing energy from renewable, local and less expensive sources, whether they live in houses or apartments and whether they are owners or tenants. That is the case in Belgium (Oud-Heverlee, Flemish Brabant) where a project involving 15 neighbors, similar to the Île d’Yeu experiment, is being developed by the ENGIE Laborelec teams. These experiments will allow ENGIE to hone its expertise and its services in collective self-consumption.
1 Participants will be asked to estimate the cost reductions, according to the distribution of the energy produced and based on equivalent consumption and an equivalent energy price.