France awards 1.5GW in largest ever ground-mount solar tender


Neoen’s 300MWp Cestas solar project in France. Image: Neoen.

France has awarded 1.5GW of ground-mounted solar PV capacity in its latest auction, concluded this week (26th September). This was the largest amount awarded in any single tender since the Programmation Pluriannuelle de l’Energie (PPE) scheme began.

The 129 successful projects were awarded at an average price of €82.42/MWh (US$97.43/MWh), after the tender was slightly oversubscribed with 1.519GW of proposals for 1.5GW available capacity. It was open to projects from between 500kWp and 30MWp capacity, though certain location requirements (such as deployment on wasteland or old quarries) allowed for the removal of capacity restrictions.

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For comparison, the previous tender round saw just 115MW solar capacity awarded to 7 projects at an average price of €82.23/MWh.

According to renewables consulting firm Finergreen, around two-thirds of the projects were awarded in Northern France at almost double the average size of the projects awarded in the South (18.0MW compared with 10.4MW in the South.) This, Finergreen said, was “most likely due to land pressure over the last ground-mounted tenders in France.”

The Hauts-de-France and Centre-Val de Loire regions saw the most new capacity awarded, with 230.9MW and 225MW respectively. Bretagne and Provence-AlpesCôte d’Azur saw the least, whilst Normandie received its first PPE-tendered ground-mount PV projects – two 4MW facilities and one 29.5MW.

Of the companies awarded capacity, Photosol topped the list (257.1MW) followed by Neoen (226.1MW) and EDF (143.7MW).  In total 38 developers received capacity.

French development director of Neoen, Guillaume Decaen, said: “Once again, we have been ranked among the top winners, repeatedly showing our ability to bring projects to fruition and strengthening our partners in the choice they made to get involved with us to see the projects successfully completed. This latest achievement takes us past the 2GW milestone for assets in operation, under construction or projects awarded in France.”

Neoen’s 226.1MW awarded capacity was split over 15 projects, ranging in size from 3.3MWp to 42.2MWp. A quarter of the capacity will be fulfilled by agrivoltaics projects, the company said in a press release; the 30MW Ferme de Bord and Fère-Champenoise projects will both combine sheep grazing with their solar PV generation.

The next PPE tender application deadline is due on 20 November, with a forecast available capacity of 925MWp.

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