French Government plans FIT phase out

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According to a new report issued by the Ministry of Ecology and the Ministry of Industrial Renewal, the new French Government will place more emphasis on wind and solar, in a bid to reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear energy.

President Francois Hollande has previously announced his intentions to reduce nuclear power in France, from 75% to 50% by 2025. To achieve this, the new report, "Wind and solar: energetic, industrial and social challenges," states that wind and solar energy are "the most promising [energy] sources".

It goes on to cite a recently published study by French grid operator RTF, which outlined 2 scenarios for renewable energy in France. In a "business-as-usual" world, installed photovoltaic capacity would reach 18 GW by 2030. Meanwhile, with less nuclear, this figure could increase to 25 GW. This is up from the 2.3 GW installed in France4 at the end of 2011.

Nevertheless, the government report points out that electricity in France should remain cost-effective and affordable. As such, in order to further develop photovoltaics, while sticking to these points, it recommends replacing the country’s existing FIT scheme with auctions for all systems, apart from those integrated into rooftops. For these, the report asks for the continuation of a tariff. While it did not refer to a size limit for the rooftop systems, the current classifications refer to systems up to 36 kWp.

Presently, photovoltaic systems up to 100 kW are eligible to receive a FIT, which ranges from €0.34 to €0.1051, depending on installation type. Meanwhile, for plants bigger than 100 kWp, an auction system was introduced last year.

Furthermore, the report recommends that any incentive scheme should provide support for the self-consumption of solar power and net system stability.

It also highlighted concerns pertaining to the dominance of Asian photovoltaic products installed in both Europe and France. To increase the use of French, and European products, it calls for more support for R&D and existing centres of excellence in the country. It further suggests the establishment of a Franco-German collaboration in photovoltaics R&D.

Edited by Becky Beetz.