French firm HDF Energy has announced plans for a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and hydrogen-based storage unit in French Guiana.

The company says that it will install a 55 MW PV farm and a 140 MWh hydrogen energy storage plant in Mana municipality, an area that currently suffers from an energy deficit.

It says that the plant will deliver clean, affordable and reliable energy to over 10 000 households, starting in 2020. It will also include secondary storage in the form of batteries.

“The dramatic fall in the price of solar and wind energy, combined with the emergence of suitable solutions supporting mass storage of energy, makes it possible to implement projects of this type in a competitive economic environment,” said Damien Havard, CEO of HDF Energy.

The project – known as CEOG – will comprise the solar array, hydrogen electrolyser, hydrogen storage unit and a fuel cell. Connected to the EDF station in Saint-Laurent- du-Maroni, it will generate a fixed electrical output every day of 10 MW a day until evening and of 3 MW during the night.

Excess renewable energy will be used to convert water to hydrogen gas in the electrolyser. The hydrogen can be stored, and later used in the fuel cell to generate energy when needed.

The project is backed by €90 million of investment from HDF Energy, private investment partners and banks.

Construction is due to start in 2020.