France’s 50 MW tender for self-consumption ends up with only 2 MW of power assigned

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Only 2.2 MW of PV projects were selected in the tender for self-consumption launched by the French government in January. The bad news, reported by French financial newspaper Les Echos, was confirmed to pv magazine by Xavier Daval, of French renewable energy association SER, and CEO and president of KiloWattsol SAS.

Several factors explain the limited amount of projects submitted for tender – 18 MW – such as the reduction of the tariff for the sale of excess power under net metering; a suggestion made by French energy regulator CRE to limit exemptions from payment of the CSPE levied on power customers’ bills to raise funds for France’s renewable energy programs; and clarification from the French administration about CSPE exemptions for solar self-consumption in the case of third-party investment. Several developers found such third-party funding does not benefit from the exemption afforded self-financed projects.

The small capacity of the submitted schemes raised project prices, pushing the General Directorate for Energy and Climate (DGEC) to reject most of the bids as their prices were considered too high.

“We regret the DGEC made the decision to reject projects complying with tender rules,” said Mr Daval in a statement. “We believe these rules don’t match with the market and must be adapted.”

Through self-consumption tenders, the French government is supporting rooftop PV on buildings, greenhouses, agricultural facilities and carports.