France changes tender rules for innovative PV


The French Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) has amended the rules that apply to a tender it is holding for innovative PV projects.

With the organization holding a special, three-phase procurement exercise for solar projects that harness new modules or cells, the second and third stages of the auction will see changes that were approved by the European Commission at the end of November.

Under the terms of the new rules, eligible projects will now fall into only two categories: ground-based plants with capacities of 500 kW to 5 MW, which will have a maximum combined capacity of 60 MW in each round; and building-mounted, agricultural and carport schemes ranging in size from 100 kW to 3 MW and with total capacity no larger than 80 MW per round.

Other innovations that make projects eligible for the procurement can be in the electrical system – such as high voltage architecture and new power distribution systems; could be advances related to the optimization and electrical exploitation of PV plants, such as monitoring software coupled with sensors and preventive maintenance tools; or may be technologies applied to projects in agriculture, to couple secondary PV power production to primary agricultural generation, for example.

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Two more rounds

The new regulations will not apply to the first round of the auction, which was opened in April 2017 and allocated 70 MW of solar capacity. However the second and third rounds – which will each assign 140 MW and have project submission deadlines on September 6 and February 20, respectively – will be affected by the changes.

Successful projects will secure either a feed-in tariff or a feed-in premium tariff to be applied on top of wholesale prices, for 20 years in each case. The CRE said the winning projects in the opening round offered an average solar power price of €80.70/MWh.

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