France must double installed PV capacity by 2023 after roll-out flatlines

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email
The completion of a 17MWp floating plant north of Marseille was among France's PV highlights of 2019. Image credit: Florian Wehde / Unsplash

France has four years to double its installed PV fleet to keep up with government plans after years when annual additions have failed to keep up with other major European markets.

The country’s installed PV capacity grew by 890MW in 2019 to reach a cumulative 9.43GW at the end of the year, according to stats recently published by French renewable association SER, grid operator RTE and other government bodies.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

The current 9.43GW market size places France a long distance from the 18-21GW goal that, as SER and others noted in the statement, the country is aiming to hit by 2023. Under government plans, installed PV must grow further still after that point, reaching 35.6-44.5GW by 2028.

The ambitions by Paris policymakers to quadruple capacity within less than a decade follow years of considerable, yet unchanging annual growth. From 2012, yearly PV installations have invariably remained in the 500MW-1.1GW range, according to historic IRENA figures.

Growth has, by contrast, sped up across most other leading European PV markets. Neighbour Spain has majorly closed the gap with France after cumulative installs went from 4GW to 8.8GW in a single year, while Germany – thought to have added 4GW in 2019 – remains top by far, at 50GW-plus.

Some, however, expect the PV momentum to gather steam in France over the next few years. According to Wood Mackenzie, the country will for the most part keep up with Italy and Spain in terms of installations, with all three countries set to reach a cumulative 25-31GW by 2024.

The steady growth of government auctions

The advent of subsidy-free in certain European countries has not yet extended to France with quite the same intensity. Where Spain, Italy and the UK are boosting annual roll-out volumes with sizeable PPA and merchant deals, France has been rather dormant on this front, Voltalia’s plays aside.

Unlike some of these subsidy-free hotspots, the French state retains a highly active role in the expansion of solar energy. The government runs tenders for ground-mounted PV – with 850MW and 1GW tenders due this year – as well as rooftop PV and the PV repowering of old nuclear sites.

Results from the latest auction, the ninth edition of the rooftop PV programme, were unveiled only last Thursday. The 146.8MW awarded to 306 winners under the February 2020 tender mark a slight increase on the 129.4MW (282 winners) contracted under the eighth round of October 2019.

The auction results, revealed by the French Environment Ministry, show rooftop solar prices too have flatlined. Despite slight drops between the seventh and eighth rounds – repeated between the eighth and the ninth – tariffs remain in the €86-97/MWh range.

The figures from renewable body SER suggest solar’s contribution to the French power mix is growing, albeit timidly. According to the stats, PV projects went from covering 2.3% of nation-wide electricity use in 2018 to 2.5% in 2019, producing 11.6TWh all in all throughout last year.

Flatlining growth aside, French solar notched Europe-wide headlines last year when it connected what it billed as the largest operational floating PV plant in the continent. The work of French developer Akuo, the 17MWp O’MEGA 1 plant was built on a lake north of Marseille.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in France and the rest of Europe will take centre stage atand Large Scale Solar Europe 2020 (Lisbon, on 31 March-1 April 2020).

21 August 2024
5pm BST
FREE WEBINAR -This webinar will feature the perspectives and views of PV Tech’s Head of Research, Dr. Finlay Colville, on how the U.S. PV manufacturing landscape is changing today and when we might expect additions to encompass cells and wafers. This will be followed by a PV Tech special – a look inside one of the first new PV module fabs built in the U.S. this year; SEG Solar’s new site in Texas. Join Jim Wood, CEO at SEG Solar, as he walks around the new factory showing key features and explaining the rational for SEG Solar in making this investment into U.S. PV manufacturing in 2024.
8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.
17 June 2025
Napa, USA
PV Tech has been running PV ModuleTech Conferences since 2017. PV ModuleTech USA, on 17-18 June 2025, will be our fourth PV ModulelTech conference dedicated to the U.S. utility scale solar sector. The event will gather the key stakeholders from solar developers, solar asset owners and investors, PV manufacturing, policy-making and and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out the PV module supply channels to the U.S. out to 2026 and beyond.

Read Next

July 19, 2024
The Energy Storage for Resilient Homes Act would allow residents of the two states to use funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to purchase residential BESS.
July 19, 2024
SunPower said the decision was not made "lightly" and will consider options to support its mutual customers and collective business pipeline.
July 19, 2024
Sungrow has signed an agreement with Hero Group's renewables arm Hero Future Energies to supply 850MW of inverters.
July 19, 2024
PV Lighthouse has secured AU$1.97 million from ARENA to aid the development of its digital twin software for utility-scale solar PV projects.
July 18, 2024
US solar manufacturer First Solar has opened its new research and development (R&D) centre in Ohio after almost two years of construction.
July 18, 2024
US-based off-grid solar product manufacturer d.light has secured US$176 million to support its PayGo consumer loan offering in three African countries.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
July 31, 2024
1:00 PM (BST) / 2:00PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia
Solar Media Events
October 8, 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA