France saw the addition of new 12,758 PV systems with a combined capacity of 484 MW in the first three quarters of this year, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development (MEDDE). This is up 4% from the same period in 2016, when 13,196 PV installations totaling 465 MMW were installed and connected to the grid.
In the third quarter of this year, the newly deployed PV capacity was 189 MW, while in the second and first quarters new additions totaled 209 MW and 86 MW, respectively. In comparison, the third quarter of 2016 saw 122 MW of newly installed power, while that of the first two quarters was 159 MW and 184 MW, respectively.
The MEDDE stressed that the slight increase in capacity registered for the first nine months of this year was boosted by the completion of a 82 MW solar plant by Solairedirect, a unit of French energy giant Engie, in Gréoux-les-bains, in the southern region of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
The ministry also highlighted that around 298 MW of this year’s newly installed capacity came in the form of PV plants bigger than 250 kW. Furthermore, of the new capacity recorded so far this year, 13 MW came from PV systems up to 3 kW in size, while systems ranging from 36 kW to 100 kW reached 89 MW, and installations between 3 kW and 9 kW totaled 42 MW.
France’s cumulative installed PV capacity reached 7,686 MW as of the end of September. Of this , 7,300 MW is located on the French mainland, while the remaining 386 MW is installed in France’s overseas territories. The French mainland’s regions with the highest amount of installed solar power are: Nouvelle Aquitanie (1,871 MW); Occitanie (1,565 MW); Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (1,073 MW); and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (745 MW). Among France’s overseas territories, La Réunion claimed the lion’s share, with 189 MW, followed by Guadeloupe (70 MW), Martinique (66 MW), Guyane (46 MW), and Mayotte (15 MW).
In terms of power production, all of the PV systems installed in France were able generate 7.2 TWh in the first three quarters of 2017, down 6% from the same period a year earlier. This, the French government said, was enough to cover around 2% of the country’s power demand in the third quarter of this year, up from 1.8% in the first quarter.
The MEDDE also said that the combined capayity of PV projects awaiting grid connection at the end of September was 2.87 GW, and that of this capacity 1.10 GW had already obtained grid approval.