French government confirms retroactive FIT cuts for contracts signed before 2011


From pv magazine France

The French government has confirmed its plans to revise its feed-in tariffs (FITs), despite opposition over the introduction of retroactive FIT cuts granted to PV projects between 2006 and 2010, with capacities exceeding 250 kW.

“For a month we have been working with the ministries to find an honorable solution,” Xavier Daval, CEO of French solar technical advisory KilowattSol, told pv magazine. “The government confirmed yesterday in a press conference that it will introduce a unilateral and almost immediate stop to the purchase of electricity from these projects through an amendment in the upcoming budget law.”

He said the new measure goes in the opposite direction of the green deal announced by the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

“At a time when the new wave of Covid-19 is forcing a second, almost universal, containment. France is mobilizing all resources of its administration to tackle an affair that is more than 10 years old,” Daval said. “If these contracts will be revised, the French government would not only kill the French solar industry, it would also jeopardize all future investments in green growth.”

Of the 235,000 contracts signed in the 2006-10 period, 800 were for installations bigger than 250 kW. For the government, the FIT revision represents potential savings of €300 million to €400 million – a sum that it would like to redirect to continue to support renewable energy deployment.

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“These contracts contribute to less than 5% of renewable electricity production, but cost a third of public support for renewable energies,” the ecological transition ministry said.

The government wants to introduce the changes in 2021, but it has yet to provide the details of the plan. But Enerplan, the French solar association, has lashed out at the plan.

“This measure is simply incomprehensible and unacceptable,” said Daniel Bour, president of Enerplan. “The choice to announce this measure now, while the government calls for the mobilization of economic agents within the framework of the energy transition and the recovery plan, is absurd and with this measure, there will be no confidence in investing under the recovery plan itself.”

Bour claimed that the retroactive measure would “put a stop to all financing in renewable energy, jeopardizing projects and the survival of companies in the sector.”

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