France at risk of losing 2 GW of solar capacity due to retroactive FIT cuts


From pv magazine France

The French parliament began, on Saturday, the discussion about France's upcoming budget law, including an amendment which, if approved, would introduce retroactive FIT cuts granted to PV projects between 2006 and 2010 with capacities exceeding 250 kW.

“If approved by the members of parliament, this measure would mean the immediate termination of contracts for the majority of the 800 impacted PV plants,” Xavier Daval, CEO of French solar technical advisory KilowattSol, told pv magazine. “This decision would force them to file for bankruptcy, as these plants were built with non-recourse financing.”

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According to Daval, banks and lenders behind these projects will be those who will suffer the most because the remainder of the borrowed money will never be repaid. “But the most disastrous consequence is that these plants, which will no longer have an operator and no longer have a purchase contract, will stop producing power,” he further explained. “And France will thus see its deployed solar capacity fall by nearly 2 GW. At a time when Europe is calling for a Green Deal, we must once again speak of a French exception.”

Meanwhile, a group of 300 companies from the renewable energy sector, including the associations SER and Enerplan but also the major French and foreign solar players in France – with the exception of the major energy companies – said that the government is proposing a measure that will bring limited financial gains to the state budget, which the government had previously quantified as between €300 million and €400 million, but at the same time it will jeopardize all independent operators of solar electricity. “The implementation of this measure would mean months of major economic uncertainty for small and medium-sized enterprises and bigger companies that are engaged in the fight against the Covid-19 crisis and working on the development of new renewable energy projects”, the group of companies said, in a joint statement. “The energy transition will not happen without a stable framework conducive to investment,” it also stated.

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