Solar PV installations in France generated a total of 2.97 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity in the first six months of 2014, according to an analysis by renewable energy consultant Bernard Chabot based on grid operator data. This is a 39% increase over the 2.13 TWh generated in the first six months of 2013, and enough to meet 1.24% of the nation’s electricity demand.
Though it has not been a leading PV market in Europe, France is one of only 15 nations globally to meet more than 1% of its electricity demand with solar PV at the end of 2013.
And while the capacity of installed PV has increased, the nation’s PV plants have also generated more electricity for their rated capacity so far in 2014. The average capacity factor of French PV was 14.7% over the first six months of 2014, compared to 12.9% in the first six months of 2013.
Within this average, France’s PV output is highly variable on a seasonal basis, with capacity factors ranging from 5.3% in January 2014 to 20.4% in June.
The nation’s PV market has slowed dramatically since 2011, largely due to policy changes. France installed only 743 MW in 2013, less than half the market peak of 1.69 GW in 2011. According to the nation’s Ministry of Ecology, Energy and Sustainable Development another 168 MW was installed in the first quarter of 2014, bringing France to a cumulative total of 4.80 GW of installed PV.
Bernard Chabot’s full analysis can be downloaded