France sees increasing activity for private solar PPAs

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French energy cooperative Enercoop has issued a request for proposal to select solar and wind power projects up to 10 MW in size, which it can grant a long-term PPA.

Enercoop said it will select community renewable energy projects of up to 1 MW in scale and large-scale projects up to 10 MW that will reach completion by the end of 2020, and that will be developed outside any public support scheme.

The duration of the PPA, Enercoop said, will be 15 to 30 years. Interested developers have until December 12 to submit expressions of interest, with the deadline for project proposals on January 18. The cooperative added, in September it awarded its first 30-year PPA, to a large-scale, 5.6 MW solar scheme being developed without incentives.

Enercoop had previously granted a 25-year PPA to a 250 kW pilot PV project in Montéchut, and a 30-year PPA to a solar installation of the same size in Luc-sur-Aude, both in southern France.

PPAs attracting solar players

Enercoop was listed as a “real green energy producer” by Greenpeace in a report last month. In the same publication, Greenpeace listed French energy giants including EDF, Total and Engie – and their, respective, Direct Energy, Happ-E and Sowee units – in the worst of four categories in the survey: “very bad” green energy providers.

Other entities in France are seeking clean PPAs through similar tenders, including Airport of Paris and national rail company SNCF.  The latter issued an expression of interest in June in which it announced it was aiming to cover around 20% of its electricity demand with renewables by 2025. The airport published a request for proposals from renewable energy producers in May.

A PPA was recently signed between French renewable energy company Akuo Energy and internet business Qwant.

That the PPA segment is attracting the interest of the solar industry was confirmed by Bruce Douglas, Deputy CEO of European industry association SolarPower Europe, who at the time told pv magazine: “The latest private sector tenders confirm the attractiveness and potential of the French market for renewable corporate PPAs, and renewable energy investments generally.”