Development of renewable energies in vulnerable households: geothermal and solar projects under study in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes


Within the framework of the European project POWERTY (financed by Interreg Europe), a contractual and economic model to enable low-income households to equip their homes with renewable energy through citizen investment has been imagined. Here below an update of the resulting regional action plan.

In Grand Lyon metropolitan area, the project monitored by ALEC Lyon and “Toits en transition” in the 9th district is more complicated than expected and alternatives solutions are on study.

It was planned to replace the old gas boiler with a heat pump based on geothermal energy.

The first technical studies ruled out the groundwater solution due to the complexity of the water discharge in this sector: considered as captive, the groundwater has an iron/manganese content which presents risks of clogging by precipitation at the discharge level.

A solution on probes was then considered: less interesting economically, it remains relevant because of favorable criteria (underfloor heating, low temperature emitter). But the power required would involve a significant number of probes (around twenty) and a tunnel at the back of the building adds a technical constraint. Therefore, the project is currently on hold.

The company Celsius energy, which specializes in drilling techniques in a constrained environment, has been commissioned to determine whether it is possible to develop a probe-based solution on such terrain or not.


At the same time, ALEC is looking to identify other buildings in the city of Lyon and has contacted three non-profit health and social structures (SSR du Val Rosay, EHPAD in Bron, CCAS in Lyon) to carry out feasibility studies on solar thermal energy with third-party investment. ALEC is also in contact with Le Chatelard, a spiritual Jesuit center in Francheville, which has a project with a strong environmental dimension.

In the Drôme department, “Portes du Vercors” citizen organization is ready to make investments (and therefore projects) but would like a guarantee in case of default of payment by the inhabitants (in single-family houses with precarious people, the risk is quite high). It is proposed that the Royan-Vercors municipality submit an "UE-City facility " application to set up such a guarantee fund. A meeting is planned at the end of February on this subject.

Finally, the AURACLE network, financed by ADEME and regional council, is currently establishing contacts with rural family homes for the installation of thermal solar panels on their boarding schools, which would cover a part of their domestic hot water needs.

About Powerty project

Developing the use of renewable energies among vulnerable populations is the main objective of the POWERTY project. Read more