The French government has released details of emergency measures to encourage US$2.6 billion worth of investment in the country’s ailing solar industry.
The measures include doubling the previous target of 500MW of solar projects in France to 1GW, which the government believes would be achievable this year, by simplifying the tender process and introducing a domestic content allowance.
The call for tender would be simplified by applying a target of 400MW for systems over 250kW which will be divided between CSP and PV with trackers and other roof-top technologies.
Ground-mounted installations built on brownfield sites will be favoured over those on agricultural land for example.
According to the French government these criteria would support the French industry in the face of competition from abroad.
The target for small-scale (<100kWp) rooftop installations has also been doubled to 400MW this year. To achieve this, the tariff structure has been simplified by removing building types such as schools or public buildings, and a 10% domestic content bonus has been introduced. Although building-integrated PV systems will benefit from a 5% feed-in tariff increase, the FiT for non-integrated PV systems will be cut by 20%. However, the government said that in place of the FiT, these installations would receive the full 10% of the domestic content bonus.
A Reuters report said that the French solar industry has lost about 15,000 jobs in the last two years. In 2012, the sector employed 18,000 people, down from 32,500 in 2010.
Speaking to reporters while visiting PV cell producer, MPO Energy, in northern France, Delphine Batho, French Minister for Sustainable development and Energy, said: “Many jobs were lost because of the [former] government's yoyo policies. But we will fight… to develop the ecological competitiveness of France.”