France adds 78 MW of PV capacity in Q1 2017

France had reached a cumulative installed PV capacity of 7,220 MW at the end of the first quarter of 2017, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Energy, Ecology and Sustainable Development.

In the first quarter, 3,883 new PV systems totaling 78 MW were connected. For comparison, in the first quarter of 2016 the country saw the addition of around 183 MW of installed PV power. This latest quarter’s result is also down from 105 MW registered at the end of 2016.

Of the new capacity recorded in the first quarter of this year, 3 MW came in the form of PV systems up to 3 kW, while another 37 MW comes from PV installations exceeding 250 kW in size.

Commenting on this considerable drop in new installations, the head of French solar association SER-SOLER Xavier Daval explained to pv magazine that, for most tenders, the delay between bid-allocation and construction is generally two years, and that, prior to the tender CRE-4 (for PV projects exceeding 500 kW), France was having one big tender every 20 months with this big-swing effect on connection. Before CRE-4, the French government had closed the CRE-2 in April 2014 (with limit of construction 1/4 of 2016), while the CRE-3 was held December 2016 with connection deadline set for December 2018.

Of the current cumulative capacity, 6,853 MW is located in the French mainland, while the remaining 367 MW is installed in France’s overseas territories. Around 767 MW of all the cumulative power is represented by small PV systems not exceeding 3 kW.

Another 3,654 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 1,027 MW. Installations ranging in size from 3 kW to 100 kW account for the remaining capacity.

The French mainland’s regions with the highest amount of installed solar power are Nouvelle Aquitanie (1,753 MW), Occitanie (1,495 MW), Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (951 MW) and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (718 MW).

Among France’s overseas territories, La Réunion had the largest share with 181 MW, followed by Guadeloupe (67 MW), Martinique (63 MW), Guyane (42 MW), and Mayotte (13 MW).