France adds 479 MW of solar in H1 2018


Newly installed PV capacity in France in the first half of this year reached 479 MW, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry for an Ecological and Inclusive Transition (MTES).

Of this, around 228 MW were deployed in the second quarter of 2018, while Q1 saw roughly 251 MW installed. This compares to 214 MW in the second quarter of 2017, and 87 MW in the first quarter.

Compared to the first half of last year, newly installed solar capacity grew by around 59%. This confirms the growth trend registered in the last two quarters of 2017, in which an aggregate capacity of around 586 MW were deployed.

This growth is mainly attributable to the series of tenders launched by the French government in the second half of 2016, which are now bringing more capacity online.

Most of the solar power installed so far this year – 323 MW – comes from installations larger than 250 kW, while the remaining capacity is represented by rooftop PV systems up to 250 kW in size.

Given the current growth trend, it is unlikely that the 10.2 GW solar target set by the French government for the end of this year will be achieved.

Cumulative figures

Overall, France’s cumulative installed solar power reached 8,533 MW (of which 8,146 MW is located in France’s mainland), at the end of June. Of this, 4.53 GW comes in the form of PV projects exceeding 250 kW in size, while another 1.12 GW is represented by PV systems ranging from 100 kW to 250 kW.

MTES added that PV systems with a capacity of 36 kW to 100 kW account for around 1.13 GW, with all other installations under 30 kW having a combined capacity of 1.73 GW.

The aggregate capacity of PV projects awaiting grid connection at the end of June was reportedly 3.47 GW, up from 3.10 GW at the end of March. Of this, 918 MW have already secured grid approval, said the government.

The French mainland regions with the largest volume of installed solar are: Nouvelle Aquitanie (with 2.18 GW); Occitanie (1.72 GW); Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (1.18 GW); and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (854 MW). Among France’s overseas territories, La Réunion has still the largest share – 190 MW – followed by Guadeloupe (70 MW), Martinique (66 MW), Guiana (46 MW), and Mayotte (15 MW).

MTES also reported that solar was able to generate 4.7 TWh in the first six months of 2018, thus covering 1.9% of France’s total electricity demand. In the same period of 2017, PV covered around 1.8% of demand, with around 4.2 TWh of produced power.