A boom in self-consumption and gigawatt-auctions for solar parks are drawing developers to France’s historically underwhelming photovoltaics market. Europe’s dozy giant has long punched beneath its weight, but pro-renewable reforms are helping the country cut red tape and unlock its vast solar potential.
Voltalia has secured a 25-year power purchase agreement from French retailer Boulanger for power generated by a 5 MW project. The off-taker has also committed to buying electricity from new wind and solar plants to be operated by the French developer.
A social housing development of 100 dwellings will benefit from the electricity generated by 600 sq meters of PV panels. Any output not used by residents will power hot water tanks, effectively functioning as an energy storage element of the project.
Ministers have reaffirmed plans for a Franco-German battery industry. The project is being supported in principle by the European Commission, which could give its approval by October. Meanwhile, German storage specialist Tesvolt is building a commercial storage system factory in Germany.
The feed-in tariff granted reduces each quarter in line with how much solar capacity was installed in the previous three-month period and the drop will be felt more keenly in sun-rich Corsica and the nation’s overseas territories than on the mainland.
Developers and manufacturers looking to enter France’s utility-scale segment must deal with controversial rules which prioritize projects relying on low-carbon emission modules. But what makes a low-emission module? Clearly ones that are made in France or elsewhere in Europe, according to market data. But despite clearly increasing project costs, the rules do not seem to be an obstacle for the planned gigawatt-scale growth of solar in the country over the coming years.
The suspension of tenders for projects ranging in size from 100 kW to 1 MW under net metering was due to an unexpectedly low number of applications and disproportionately high final tariffs for surplus power.
The independent power producer has purchased five PV projects from Glennmont Partners. It did not disclose the financial terms of the transaction.
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