Trade body urges France to triple solar capacity by 2025 via ‘emergency plan’

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France had around 13.2GW of solar installed as of 2021. Image: Photosol.

France should take “radical and immediate measures” to transform its energy system and rapidly accelerate solar deployment, the country’s PV trade association has said.

Given the vulnerability of Europe’s energy system and insecurity of supply, Enerplan has called for France to triple its installed solar fleet by 2025, when the technology should account for around 10% of the country’s electricity production.

Publishing a “solar emergency plan” today, the industry body has recommended that auction volumes be increased and solar project permitting procedures be shortened so that France’s annual PV deployment can reach 10GW within three years.

If the plan is implemented, the country’s total installed solar capacity would reach 37GW in 2025, three years earlier than its PPE energy plan and more than triple the 13.2GW installed as of 2021.

The country added around 2.5GW of solar last year, according to SolarPower Europe, which said in a recent report that PV project developers in the country face tight regulation, challenging grid connection processes and long administrative procedures.

In the current situation, France’s delay in the development of solar is costly, said Enerplan president Daniel Bour, adding that that target of installing 10GW per year is possible “provided that solar power becomes a national priority”.

Enerplan forecasts that if 10GW is added in 2025, around 6.5GW would be from projects with a capacity of more than 500kW, 2GW would be smaller than 500kW and 1.5GW from self-consumption systems.

The proposals come after President Emmanuel Macron announced last month that France will aim to have 100GW of solar by 2050 as part of a new energy strategy that will also see the country build at least six new nuclear reactors.

Under Enerplan’s strategy out to 2050, solar would account for at least 25% of France’s electricity production.

The news follows a string of announcements in recent weeks related to reducing Europe’s reliance on Russian gas through speeding up solar and wind deployment.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission is aiming to simplify permitting and accelerate renewables “at lightning speed”, while Germany is bringing forward plans for renewables to account for all the country’s electricity needs by 2035.

In Italy, which imports around 40% of its gas from Russia, the president of industry trade association Italia Solare, Paolo Rocco Viscontini, has called for “an immediate change of pace” to authorise PV plants in the country.

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