France supports 341MW of solar projects in latest renewables auction as price falls 7.4%

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A 5MW EDF solar project in France. Image: EDF/Thierry Montford.

France will guarantee tariff support to 341MW of solar projects following completion of an oversubscribed auction that featured reduced prices compared to previous rounds.

The country’s Minister of the Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili announced the results, which saw 45 ground-mounted PV parks totalling 332MW selected, with an average price €57.4/MWh (US$68/MWh), down 7.4% on France’s last auction.

A further 31 self-consumption solar projects totalling 9MW had an average price of €13.8/MWh, representing a decline of 14%.

The ministry said the reduction in prices offered by the winning projects compared to previous sessions “confirms the drop in costs, the dynamism and the competitiveness” of renewables.

Including wind developments, the auction means additional renewable energy projects with a total capacity of 600MW will benefit from public support in the form of a guaranteed purchase tariff for electricity produced for 15 to 20 years. Another set of auctions are due to take place in November for ground-based PV and wind projects.

French renewables association Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables (SER) said the “very satisfactory” results in terms of both prices and subscribed volumes illustrates the need for long-term support mechanisms to help the country meet its climate commitments.

The results also “confirm that France is today capable of leading the energy transition and fighting against climate change based on extremely competitive renewable technologies”, the association’s president, Jean-Louis Bal, said. 

SER figures revealed that while France’s installed PV capacity reached 9.43GW at the end of last 2019, it has just four years to reach the country’s goal of 18-21GW capacity. Beyond that, the government is calling for as much as 44.5GW by 2028.

France's solar sector may be boosted by the country's new coronavirus recovery package, which will see some €30 billion spent on an “ecological transition” and will also spearhead low-carbon hydrogen production.

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