Enerplan resumes call for French government to protect rooftop solar industry

Enerplan – France’s leading solar association – has urged the French government to reconsider its plans to scrap tax breaks for residential rooftop PV arrays, stating that maintaining some level of incentive will help the sector return to growth in the coming year.

Currently, PV systems installed for self-consumption are eligible for an 11% tax break, but in August this year the French government announced plans to cancel this incentive in 2014 on the back of poor performance in the first half of 2013.

Just 207 MW of PV capacity was added in France in the first six months of the year, prompting the government to question the efficacy of the incentives it introduced at the beginning of 2013.

Following the budget announcement at the end of August, Enerplan asked the government to adopt new measures intended to revive the floundering domestic solar industry, suggesting an overhaul of the incentive system and the introduction of net metering.

Their latest call is to reduce the tax break to 10%: a level they believe can be maintained throughout 2014 and will be sufficient incentive to help pump new life into France’s domestic solar sector.

Although the country has a total capacity of 4.26 GW of installed solar PV, installations so far in 2013 are 73% down on the previous year. Such downward pressure has prompted the French government to reassess its stance on domestic solar, with the proposed August budget expected to be approved in the coming weeks.

Another French solar association, SOLER, also claims that the removal of the 11% tax break would inexorably create a further slowdown in the domestic solar market. However, they have not yet backed Enerplan’s calls for a reduced, 10% incentive.