France’s PV capacity tops 7.13 GW

France had reached a cumulative installed PV capacity of 7,134 MW as of the end of December 2016, according to the latest statistics released by the French Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea.

In 2016, 15,970 PV systems with a combined capacity of 559 MW were installed in the country. This is 62% down from 2015, when 17,822 PV systems totaling 894 MW were connected to the grid. The Ministry stressed that last year’s increase in capacity was the lowest since 2009.

PV projects with a power over 250 kW covered about two thirds of the new capacity, although these installations represented only 1% of all the PV systems which came online last year. Of the cumulative capacity, 3,627 MW comes from installations exceeding 250 kW of power, while PV systems with a power range between 100 kW and 250 kW reach a total of 1,020 MW. Installations under 100 kW account for the remaining capacity.

The French regions with the highest amount of installed solar power are Nouvelle Aquitanie (1,732 MW), Occitanie (1,472 MW), Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (945 MW) and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (705 MW).

Furthermore, the ministry reports that last year power generation from PV source increased 14% to 7.7 TWh compared to 2015. Despite this growth, solar still remains a marginal source in the country’s energy system covering only 1.6% of energy demand. In 2015, solar was able to cover 1.4% of demand.

The report reveals that there are additional PV projects pending authorization with a combined capacity of 2,368 MW.