French Solar PV Capacity Hits 3,000 MW

According to the French utility EDF, the French solar PV capacity reached in March 3,000 MW, with over 2,672 MW in mainland France and 339 MW in Corsica and overseas.

According to the data: the total capacity grew by 15 percent this semester in metropolitan France. An additional 1,581 MW are already installed but are waiting to be plugged to the grids.

Not all of this massive capacity may be linked to the grids as most of them have to be connected prior to June to benefit from the local feed-in tariffs. The industry is facing a darker future.

France has seen in recent years a spectacular rise of solar photovoltaic as the capacity grew from 40 MW in 2006 to 81 MW in 2008. Things accelerated afterwards as by the end of 2010 it reached 850 MW.

2011 was an impressive year for solar PV as Enerplan – the local French solar industrial organization – notes in its report. Local capacity in march 2011 was of 1,336 MW, in June it was of 1676 MW, in September 2232 MW.

At the end of the year it had reached 2643 MW. You read that right: the French solar capacity doubled in nine months.

In 2010 I noted in a previous article here that the 5,400 MW objective originally planned for 2020 could be reached in 2013. Given the impressive increase, this well could be the case. However the future for the industry is not that bright:

In 2011, half of the 25,000 jobs that had been created in this industry had been destroyed. The investment bubble created by the high feed in tariffs has boomed and busted as there have been several cuts in FIT since 2010.

What will François Hollande, the new President elected earlier this month, will do about it ? Will the industry be given a sustainable roadmap for the next five years?

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