France releases renewable energy plan for French Guiana, solar FITs to be increased by 35%

At the end of 2014, French Guyana had an installed PV capacity of approximately 39 MW.

France’s Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea (MEEM) announced that the new energy strategy for French Guiana (Programmation Pluriannuelle de l’Energie – PPE), which aims at promoting the development of renewable energies across the country’s overseas territory, has been published in the official journal.

The new plan, the French government said, will focus primarily on the development of solar, biomass and hydropower generation units. Through the new strategy, the government hopes to increase the share of renewable’s in the region’s electricity mix to 83% by 2023.

As for solar energy, the MEEM has established that the FITs for small-sized grid-connected PV systems will raise by 35% compared to current rates on the French mainland. Furthermore, the Government said it will support stand-alone PV projects for self-consumption in the region’s rural areas. Storage solutions will also be promoted by the plan, in order to sustain rural electrification.

The government has not established a solar energy development cap in terms of MW installed, but it said that aggregate surface of PV systems installed in the region should not exceed 100 hectares by 2030.

Ground-mounted PV plants on agricultural land would also be considered, although these should be compatible with the activities conducted by their owners.

According to official statistics from the MEEM, French Guiana had 34 MW of PV capacity without storage solutions (including stand-alone systems) and 5 MW of installed power consisting of solar-plus-storage solutions at the end of 2014. Furthermore, the region had 118.5 MW of installed generation capacity from Hydropower plants and 1.7 MW of biomass power systems.

Through the new plan, the MEEM hopes to reach cumulative PV capacity of 80 MW by 2023. This will consist of 50 MW of installations without storage and 30 MW of solar-plus-storage. In 2030, installed solar power is expected to reach 105 MW, thus becoming the region’s second largest electricity source after hydropower. The plan excludes completely the construction of new fossil fuel power plants.

The MEEM stressed that Guiana, which is a fully integrated region in the French central state, is the country’s only territory which has the perspective of a demographic growth and that, as a consequence, more investment in energy infrastructure is required.