Over 200 solar projects have been approved by the French energy ministry. The total number of megawatts for all the projects is 541.
Currently, the largest solar plant in operation in France is about 67 megawatts, but several fairly large ones are now under construction or in the planning phase. The country did have a plan to have over 5,000 MW installed by 2020, but this outlook may be in doubt at the moment.
With the administration change, perhaps the new approvals are an indication of a friendlier attitude toward solar power. Sarkozy was believed by some to have ties to the nuclear industry (ties that were conceived to be too close), and the shrinking of new solar projects under his guidance may have been a reflection of that relationship.
The French government is now supporting the creation of a new report on its solar industry potential. This document may be published in September. The CEO of a photovoltaics company in France said the new administration is more green-oriented.
If you look at a map of France’s solar radiation levels, the highest are in and around Marseilles, and the lowest are, of course, in the North.
Solar heating panels have been used there since the 1980s but they didn’t become relatively common until a decade later. By 2009, there were about 715,000 homes using them.
France is already a low-carbon nation in terms of energy production. About seventy-five percent of its electricity comes from nuclear power.
Image Credit: Jddmano, Wiki Commons
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