France to introduce new regulation for self-consumption

Solar panel installation

France’s Senate has finally adopted a draft law that intends to regulate the installation of renewable energy and PV power systems for self-consumption. The French Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea said that the new rules will come into force “soon”. Prior to this regulation, renewable energy projects for self-consumption have seen limited development in the country due to the lack of clear rules and low return on investments.

The new regulation compels the country’s grid operator RTE to facilitate the process of installation of a power system for self-consumption for both individual and collective projects. Furthermore, the French Energy Regulator (CRE) has been tasked to set a specific fee for these installations. The minister of energy Ségolène Royal said the lower level of these tariffs will depend on their lower costs compared to conventional electricity sources for the grid operator. The government stressed that the new rules will immediately relate to about 5,000 renewable energy power system operators, which are already concerned with self-consumption.

The French association SER Soler revealed that the new regulation will set lower grid-fees for consumers that own renewable energy and PV power systems for self-consumption with a capacity of up to 100 kW. The association also said that the new legislation will exempt operators of PV plants up to 1 MW from the payment of the CSPE, a levy on power end-customers’ bills to raise funds for France’s renewable energy programs, and other local taxes on the final electricity consumption, for the part of power consumed at the site where the electricity is generated.

In addition, SER Soler said that the French government is also preparing a new decree on the tariffs for PV which would include an inventive for PV systems up to 100 kW installed under the new legislation for self-consumption. The association explained that for a residential PV system up to 3 kW the incentives, which would be paid out over a 5-year period, would reach the sum of about €800 ($845). This would be enough to cover over 25% of the investment for the installation of the system, SER Soler stressed.

According to the latest statistics released by the French Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea, there is currently approximately 2,488 MW of PV systems up to 100 kW connected to the grid in France. PV systems with a power range of 36 kW to 100 kW account for approximately 903 MW, while systems ranging in size from 9 kW to 36 kW have reached a combined capacity of 422 MW. PV systems up to 3 kW and systems with a power of 3 kW and 9 kW have totaled 399 MW and 764 MW, respectively. The vast majority of this capacity, however, was installed under the country’s FIT scheme.