EU approves French support scheme for rooftop solar

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The measure will provide feed-in tariffs for installs up to 500kW. Image: Tenergie.

The European Commission (EC) has given the green light to a French aid scheme that is expected to support the development of 3.7GW of rooftop solar.

With a budget of around €5.7 billion (US$6.8 billion), the measure will run until 2026 and be open to operators of PV installations that have a capacity of up to 500kW.

These installations will be eligible to receive support in the form of a 20-year feed-in tariff, which will vary according to the size of the solar system and whether all electricity is injected into the grid or part is consumed on site.

The EC, which is the European Union’s executive branch, said the aid is necessary to further develop renewable energy generation and to help France reach its environmental goals as the country aims to produce 33% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030 before achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

Additionally, the aid scheme will support solar installations that otherwise wouldn’t be developed, the EC said. Since it concerns systems below 1MW, the aid will be granted without a tender process.

The measure complements a €30.5 billion French renewables policy that was approved by the EC in late July and will see the country carry out seven types of tenders for a total of 34GW of renewables capacity by 2026. The tender categories are: ground-mount solar, rooftop solar, onshore wind, hydroelectric, innovative solar, self-consumption and technology neutral.

Recent figures from France’s ministry of ecological transition reveal the country deployed an additional 1,367MW of solar PV during the first half of 2021, compared with 431MW installed in H1 2020. This rise is thanks in part to more projects bigger than 250kW being built.

Having surpassed 10GW of installs last year, France’s solar capacity as of the end of June 2021 stood at almost 12.6GW.

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