EU approves France’s €600 million scheme to support innovative PV

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The European Commission has given the green light to a French scheme supporting innovative PV technologies.

“The commission found that the French scheme will encourage the development of innovative solar renewable energies and avoid overcompensation for the beneficiaries of the public support,” the EC said.

The €600 million scheme is expected to lead to the deployment of an additional 350 MW of PV capacity, and to support ground-mounted and rooftop projects relying on innovative technologies and ranging in size from 100 kW to 5 MW. “The beneficiaries will be selected through tenders organised until 2019,” the EC added.

Selected projects will be awarded either a feed-in tariff or a feed-in premium tariff for 20 years.

The first, 210 MW tender for innovative solar technologies was launched in France in April 2017. Through it, the French government said it intended to support component innovations such as solar roads, innovative modules or new cell technologies; innovations in the electrical system, such as high voltage architecture and new power distribution systems; advances related to the optimization and electrical exploitation of PV power plants, such as monitoring software coupled with sensors and preventive maintenance tools; and technologies applied to solar projects in agriculture, to couple secondary PV power production to primary agricultural generation.

According to French regulator CRE, the proposed innovations must embrace the whole capacity of installations. The winning projects of the first tender’s window offered an average price of €80.7/MWh.