Overall, France is aiming to install 4 GW of solar PV via six auctions, which were first introduced in 2016. Originally, the government was aiming to install 3 GW, but increased its target by 1 GW last December.
The results of the fourth round were announced on August 6 by the Ministère de la Transition Ecologiqueet Solidaire: a total of 727.9 MWp awarded across 103 projects, with the lowest tariff – an “all time low” – coming in at €52.1/MWh.
This compares to the 500 MWp which were awarded in each of the three previous rounds; and 77 projects, which were awarded in the third auction.
According to French renewable energy consultancy, Finergreen, three developers, out of a total 31, comprised 54% of the total capacity allocated, while 15 were awarded less than 10 MWp.
With 25 projects totaling 229 MWp, Engie has emerged the clear winner of the latest auction, and is currently ranked first in terms of allocated capacity for all four rounds (nearly 500 MWp).
Ranking second for the latest auction, is Total, which secured 15 projects worth 95 MWp. With a combined capacity of 186 MWp, for all four rounds, it falls slightly behind Urbasolar, however, which has secured 194 MWp of capacity, 63 MWp of which were awarded in the last round.
Neoen and Valorem make up the top five developers in terms of total capacity awarded across all the auctions to date, with 130 MWp and 107 MWp, respectively.
Broken down, France’s PV tenders comprise three sections: ground mounted plants with capacity between 5 MWp and 30 MWp; ground mounted plants with capacity of between 500 kWp and 5 MWp; and rooftop PV systems installed on buildings, greenhouses, agricultural hangars and carports with a capacity between 500 kWp and 10 MWp.
Under these, the fourth tender awarded 453.5 MWp in the first category, for an average tariff of €52.1/MWh; 203.5 MWp in the second category, for an average tariff of €62.7/MWh; and 70.9 MWp in the final category, for an average tariff of 83.8/MWh.
While the tariff in the first category is said to have declined by nearly 18% between March 2017 and September 2018, the steepest tariff decrease was recorded in the third category, says Finergreen, “with rather consistent decreases over the 4 sessions that add up to 20% over the last 18 months.”
It continues, “The global tariff across all categories decreased by 1/6th (-16,6%) in 18 months. The global tariff came down from 70.6€/MWh to 58.2€/MWh.”
In terms of locations, nearly half of all allocated projects in the latest auction will be built in the south western regions of Occitianie and Nouvelle Aquitaine, while the northern regions will see 35% of new capacity added.