A study recently published by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) suggests that France’s Solar PV target for 2020 should be 15 GW instead of its current 5.4 GW.
According to ADEME, solar PV has the potential to reach grid parity in France in the coming few years, and therefore is an essential component of sustainable energy policies.
At the end of 2012, France had a cumulative PV capacity of just 4 GW (including capacity installed in Corsica and its overseas territories). Although, France did celebrate adding 1.08 GW of PV capacity in 2012, represented by over 34,500 solar power plants, according to the country’s Ministry of Energy, Ecology and Sustainable Development.
If France expanded its national solar business, there would of course be numerous economic and environmental benefits. One of the key benefits of solar PV is the creation of jobs. According to ADEME, there are “numerous French companies that are dedicated to the development of technologies of innovative manufacturing (cells, modules and electronics).”
ADEME recommends that France concentrate on installing large rooftop solar PV systems to boost installed capacity and support the domestic solar industry.
The French solar industries association, Enerplan, thinks that 15 GW is still not enough, however. Enerplan’s general secretary, Richard Loyen, has suggested that France set a solar PV target of 20 GW:
The best way to achieve the competitiveness of the French PV industry is to provide it with a secured volume and a sustainable framework.
Last year, France had a broad national discussion on how the country should transform its energy system. President Francois Hollande announced that the percentage of energy generated from nuclear power would decrease to 50%, from its current 75%, by 2025.
Under the title “debat national sur la transition energetique,” the public and stakeholders will debate until July how energy demand shall be met in the future. This debate will serve to help draft a new energy law, which is expected to be introduced to the French parliament this fall.