France Cuts Solar PV Feed In Tariffs by 12 Percent

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Feed-in tariffs for industrial installations in France decreased by 12 percent beginning on September 1st. This move was done to prevent overheating in the sector.

According to the French Minister for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Town, Mr. Jean-Louis Borloo, the objective of having 5,400 MW of solar PV capacity may be reached in 2013 instead of 2020.

ERDF (electricity distributor to 95% of France) estimates that there are up to 68,000 projects totaling a capacity of 3,000 MW that are already planned. Agricultural and financial installations account for 33 percent of the demand and total 80 percent of the added capacity.

This is why Mr. Borloo and his ministry decided to cut the feed-in tariffs for these applications.

According to the French Daily Le Figaro, the solar PV capacity at the end of 2008 was of 81 MW. By the end of this year it is due to reach 850 MW.

This explosion of capacity has a price. Indeed, the risk of overheating is important as financially the feed-in tarrfis may well reflect themselves in increasing prices for households and companies.

ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency) previously estimated that electricity prices would increase by eight euros by 2020. However, with the rush to install solar PV, prices may instead increase by 60 euros as early as 2012.

The latter estimates don’t take into account the drop in prices of solar panels (minus 40 percent in a year).

The Solar PV industry already employs 15,000 people in France. However, the country is way behind Germany, Spain and even Belgium in terms of per capita installed capacity. (120 W in Germany, 76 in Spain, 33 in Belgium and only 4.5 in France)

With offshore wind, it seems France is moving forward fast to try to catch up with its German neighbour.

It should be noted that the rise of solar photovoltaic shouldn’t make us forget about its oft overlooked cousin: solar thermal. With less than 50,000 installations per year, the technology isn’t used as much as it should be.

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Fascinated by sustainability and cleantech since 2004, Edouard wrote both his Bachelor of Arts' dissertation and Master's thesis on sustainable energy topics. He haven't stopped writing on these subjects ever since. A French Master's graduate in international management, Edouard has had several experiences in Marketing and Communications in Europe. He worked for firms as diverse as a German water treatment company, a leading French business school and lately a Belgian automation specialist. He is currently for hire globally. Since 2007 Edouard has been selecting for his own blog the latest headlines and best researches on sustainable development, climate change, cleantech and the world energy sector. With over 1,600 published articles, he is read all over the world. On Cleantechies, Edouard has been proposing since June 2009 news articles and opinion pieces on on French and European policies. Don't hesitate to contact him as he is always interested in discussing with new people.

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