France's PV market recovers in the first half of 2014

France installed 194 MW of solar PV in the second quarter of 2014, a 44% increase over the second quarter of 2013, according to the latest quarterly report by the nation’s General Commission for Sustainable Development. This confirms a trend of market recovery after two years of decline.

Overall, the nation has installed 386 MW of solar PV in the first half of 2014. This is a 57% increase over the year prior, but still less than half the level installed in the first half of 2011 and 2012.

France’s PV market began declining in the second half of 2012, after the nation moved away from feed-in tariffs to competitive solicitations for PV plants larger than 100 kW. In 2013, the nation installed only 650 MW of PV, down from 1.76 GW in 2011.

Recovery in the first half of 2014 has been led by large systems, with PV plants over 250 kW representing over half of new capacity. Consistent with usual market trends installations were concentrated in the south, with Aquitaine and Provence Alpes Côte d’Azure the leading regions.

Additionally, during the first half of the year electricity production from PV rose to 2.7 terawatt-hours, enough to meet 1.1% of the nation’s electricity demand. This is a higher portion than in the United States, but far less than in neighboring Germany, Spain and Italy.