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Published on February 11th, 2013 | by Adam Johnston


French Solar Power Generation Advances By 67% In 2012

French solar energy generation in 2012 saw some big gains. 

According to the 2012 French Electricity Report, 4 terrawatt hours (Twh) of solar energy came from photovoltaic systems, making up for 0.79% of France’s energy demand last year.

Meanwhile 1.022 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy was installed, boosting the overall solar capacity to 3.5 GW.

Image Credit: Solar Panel via Cardaf /Shutterstock

The report noted that the leaps and bounds made by solar in France is helping to boost the country’s overall renewable energy mix to 16.4%.

As the sixth overall global solar PV market in 2012, France is looking toward solar as an energy source to get its country away from nuclear fuel dependency. French president Francois Hollande said last fall he hopes to cut France’s nuclear demand from 75% to 50% by 2025, while in the next few months rolling out a new solar strategy to give underlying support.

Nuclear still made up nearly three-quarters of the country’s energy demand last year, despite generating 3.8% less in 2012.

With the new French President Hollande in charge, and nuclear power far more expensive and unpopular as an alternative, French solar energy may well be positioned to continue to nibble away at nuclear’s dominance.

Main Sources: Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) / PV Magazine

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About the Author

A University of Winnipeg graduate who received a three year B.A. with a combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications. Currently attempting to be a freelance social media coordinator. My eventual goal is to be a clean tech policy analyst down the road while I sharpen my skills as a renewable energy writer. Currently working on a book on clean tech and how to relate it to a broader audience. You can follow me on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or at

  • Otis11

    So if 75% is nuclear and 16% is RE, are the other 9% FFs?
    What order are they retiring them? FFs first? Nuclear first? Order of retirement age?

    Thanks for the article!

    “Nuclear still made up nearly three-quarters of the country’s energy demand last year, despite generating 3.8% less in 2012. However, nuclear still made up nearly three-quarters of the country’s energy demand last year.” –Is that second sentence necessary?

    • Ronald Brakels

      I would hope they would retire capacity in order of danger. To me fossil fuel plants seem the most dangerous. We’ve already built up Adelaide port once and turned all the ground floors of the buildings into basements and we’re in no hurry to do it again. And then there’s the danger that all this radioactive material we have cluttering up our mines in Australia might not get shipped out of the country and sent somewhere far away, like France. Of course, people actually living in France instead of as far away away from France as it is possible to get, might have a different perspective.

      • Otis11

        Hahaha, nice. Yeah as long as the nuclear plants already built are operating safely might as well let then keep going and stop all the FF plants, but doesn’t make sense to build any more nuclear just from an economic perspective, so those mines look like they’re going to stay – unless Australia sells to the Middle East or China…

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