Specialist renewable energy insurer to cover Neoen for 300MW Cestas solar park in France

London, 15th December 2014 – GCube, the specialist renewable energy insurer, has been selected by Paris-based developer Neoen to provide comprehensive cover for a 300MW solar park in France. Once complete, the site in Cestas, near Bordeaux, will become Europe's largest solar photovoltaic (PV) park.

As technology and panel costs fall across the global solar PV industry, European utility-scale solar generation is increasingly becoming cost-competitive with traditional energy forms.

However, to date, Europe has not matched the scale of projects in the USA and China, and the majority of operational PV sites in Europe are below 50MW. The Cestas project, comprising several individual sites, will have a combined output 100MW greater than the next largest European PV project when construction is complete in October 2015.

From an insurance perspective, GCube, Europe's leading PV insurer, won this account by virtue of its extensive capacity and substantial expertise covering projects of this scale worldwide. For a period of 2 years, GCube will insure technological assets worth 285m and all project revenues.

Specifically, during the 12-month construction phase, the firm will provide Construction All Risks, Advanced Loss of Profit, Natural Catastrophe and Terrorism (GAREAT) cover for the project, and has agreed terms to provide Operational All Risks cover for the first 12 months once construction is complete.

"The PV industry in Europe to date has predominantly consisted of small sites in a handful of core markets such as the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy," said Jamie Fleming, Underwriter, GCube Underwriting Ltd.

"So the Cestas project is a timely reminder of French ambition in the market - a welcome addition to the European solar landscape - and may well initiate a shift in the status quo going forward."

"It's certainly an indication that the economies of scale being achieved in the global industry can make utility-scale solar a viable part of the European energy mix – at a cost per MWh that rivals nuclear generation," he added.

"While the Cestas project is the largest PV site in Europe, let's not forget that it's also the first site of this scale in France," said Mr Jean Louis Guerrero, Account Manager, Filhet Allard, the leading French brokerage that negotiated the contract.

"Thus it was highly important to choose an insurer not only with sufficient capacity, but also a global track record working with the developers of utility-scale solar farms."

Mr Xavier Barbaro, CEO at Neoen, added, "As construction begins on site we not only find ourselves with a great opportunity to establish France as a key player in European solar but also take a step towards establishing cost parity with other energy forms."

"For a site of this scale and importance it's vital that we safeguard ourselves against excess and unforeseen costs for the duration of the project lifecycle."

GCube is Europe's largest insurer of solar projects, and currently insures 15GW of solar PV capacity globally.

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