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France gives go ahead to 541MW of solar power projects

French energy minister, Delphine Batho, has given the go ahead to 214 solar power projects totaling 541MW.

Representing a total investment of around €1bn ($1.2bn), the project plans were submitted for consideration under government tender rounds last year. For large-scale (bigger than 250kW) developments, Batho approved 109 projects (including both solar PV and solar thermal) with a combined capacity of 520MW and spanning the use of seven different technologies. Significantly, the capacity given the green light was above the 450MW limit planned for the large-scale tenders under the previous Sarkosy government. In the smaller 100-250kW range, for installations on buildings, 109 projects totaling 21MW were selected.

“The large number of projects submitted demonstrated the vitality of this sector, whose growth must be progressive and economically sustainable,” a statement from the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy said. “The number of successful projects demonstrates the desire to support an important sector for the energy transition.”

A further invitation to tender to develop more solar energy projects is planned by the French government. This will possibly be announced later this year, after a report outlining policy recommendations is completed in September - Batho has asked the General Council of the Economy, Industry, Energy and Technology and the General Council of the Environment and Sustainable Development to produce a full analysis of the French solar industry. The report is due on 13 September.

According to Batho, the report will help shape the next tender round, with a view to decreasing the production cost of solar electricity, supporting development of innovative technologies and improving the competitiveness of the sector. 

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling