France allocates 720 MW in large-scale solar tender, final average price reaches €58.2/MWh

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The French Ministry for Ecological and Solidary Transition has announced it has 103 utility-scale solar projects with a combined capacity of 720 MW in the frame of the fourth of a series of six tenders for solar projects ranging in size from 500 kW to 17 MW.

The government said that tender’s final average price was €58.2/MWh, 5% lower compared to that of the third tender, in which around 500 MW was assigned, and final average price was €61.6/MWh.

As for big solar parks with capacities of between 5 MW and 17 MW, the ministry said the final average price in this round was around €52, while in the third round, the price reached €55.3/MWh.

Most of these PV projects will be developed in the southern regions of Nouvelle Aquitaine (168.6 MW), Occitanie (157.3 MW), Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (79.5MW). The northern region of Centre-Val de Loire, however, also had a considerable share, with around 84.8 MW of assigned capacity.

The second and first tenders of the series each assigned around 500 MW of solar capacity, and concluded with a final average price of €62.5/MWh and €61.6/MWh, respectively.

Projects selected in the auction are entitled to receive a “complement de rénumeration” under the new incentive mechanism introduced under the Energy Transition for Green Growth Law in August 2015. Under this mechanism, PV plant owners do not sell power to EDF or other power providers, like under the FIT mechanism, but instead to the electricity market. These, however, are also entitled to receive an ex post tariff complementing the sale of power to the market.

In the next two and last rounds, the government said around 1.7 GW of additional solar power (850 MW in each round) will be allocated. This increase in volume is the result of an initiative by the current government, which decided in December 2017 that the annual capacity to be allocated through the series of solar tenders launched by the French government in late 2016, had to be increased from 1.45 GW to 2.45 GW.

The article was amended on August 9 at 14.50 to update the overall total capacity France is aiming to install via its tenders: 4 GW, not 3 GW.