France has announced it will review the subsidies received by solar and other renewable technologies in response to falling costs and growing grid concerns.
In a speech to the French electricity union, Philippe Martin, minister for ecology, sustainable development and energy said many of the support schemes had served their purpose in getting fledgling clean energy technologies off the ground.
“Existing support mechanisms necessary for development goals in renewable energy were introduced at a time when the means of production was underdeveloped. The feed-in tariff systems in place to then had the merit of simplicity and led to a takeoff of wind and including solar,” said Martin.
Martin also said the country needed to explore the benefits of self consumption and how both the state and the private sector could boost the domestic PV industry.
“These two projects will be launched in parallel with the process of consultation on support mechanisms for renewable energy,” he added.
Enerplan, the trade union representing the solar industry in France urged that any consultation be two-sided.
“…We ask that consultation is a real negotiation and it results in a ‘solar map’ for [the next] three years signed by all parties. We do not want yet another mission [in which] the results will be determined by the administration, or [are] already decided,” an Enerplan statement read.
The organisation called for the review to begin within days and to conclude by the year’s end to ensure minimal disruption and warned that political uncertainty would cost jobs.
Earlier this month UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced support for renewables would be reviewed following public outcry over rising bills. It is understood that the FiT will not be altered. Around 75% of a UK electricity bill covers wholesale market and distribution costs.