France’s minister for ecology, sustainable development and energy, Ségolène Royal, has announced the award of 40.7MWp worth of feed-in tariffs (FiTs) across 217 PV projects, in the third phase of a national tender process.
The minister announced the awards on Monday, with all the projects announced categorised as medium-sized, between 100kWp and 250kWp generation capacity. The latest announcements bring the total number of PV projects approved this year through the tender process, up to 587, with earlier rounds awarded in February and June. All the projects are expected to be completed and connected in 2016 and 2017.
The average sale price for the 587 projects is €162.2 (US$203.46)/MWh. The latest round of 217 will be sold at an average price of €153.2/MWh, which is a drop of around 7% from June’s round, when average price was €165.2/MWh and a further drop from the February round when the price average was €168.3/MWh. The previous rounds also awarded around 40MWp worth of tenders each. Ségolène Royal also announced a fourth tender process will be launched before the end of the year, with the ministry of ecology, sustainable development and energy opening a three-week consultation period with stakeholders ahead of the launch.
According to the ministry, costs have dropped around 9% in the last nine months, which correspond with the reduction in average price from €168.3 to €153.2. The ministry claims this drop has been made for the benefit of consumers. The so-called degression of tariffs, dropping them by increments to reflect falling costs, is a strategy that has also been used in other territories including Japan, which has annually dropped FiT levels for solar by about 10%.
In July, the government also announced that a tender process would take place for large-scale solar over 250kW, expected to total 400MW with submissions taken until September, while Royal also announced then that the traditionally nuclear-hungry country’s state energy producer will have its nuclear generation capacity capped at present day levels.
In other PV news from France, recent figures from the country’s transmission system operators show that 286MW of solar was installed in the third quarter of this year. According to those figures, France’s installed PV capacity stands at a total of 4.82GW.