Clean Power

Published on March 12th, 2014 | by James Ayre


Only 613 MW Of PV Installed In France In 2013, FiT Domestic Content Bonus May Get Scrapped

March 12th, 2014 by  

Only 613 MW of solar PV capacity was installed last year in France, according to data recently published by the French General Commission on Sustainable Development. That’s a significant drop from 2012, when 1.15 GW of capacity was installed — a 45% drop to be exact.

Given the reality, though, that there are currently about 35,128 PV projects (2.7 GW) pending approval throughout the country, it appears that the demand is still there, even with the anemic numbers during 2013. With that in mind, the French government has submitted a proposal to the country’s Energy Council to completely scrap France’s domestic content feed-in-tariff (FiT) bonus scheme. That scheme, for those that don’t know, allows PV system owners to receive a 5% or 10% bonus if their system-components were manufactured in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Image Credit: French Flag via Flickr CCImage Credit: French Flag via Flickr CC

PV Magazine provides more:

The 5% bonus applies to residential buildings fitted with PV; ground-mounted PV plants, and systems with simplified integration that require crystalline modules. To be eligible for the bonus, these installations must use modules that were produced in the EEA, including the wafer transformation process. If those same crystalline modules were also assembled and laminated in the EEA, the system is then eligible for the 10% bonus. The same rules apply for systems that use thin film modules.

The domestic content bonus was introduced early in 2013 for residential and simplified installations, and a little earlier for ground-mount plants. The government, having assessed its impact, or lack thereof, has suggested eliminating this incentive having recognized that such stipulations contravene European Union regulations and could no longer be justified as a means of protecting French consumer and public interest.

The proposal to scrap the bonus is set to be discussed by the appropriate authorities on March 12th. Even if the bonus does end up being repealed, those that have already applied will still be eligible.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • sault

    Is there any reason installations dropped so much between 2012 and 2013? Since there are so many projects held up in the approval pipeline (more than FOUR TIMES the capacity they installed in 2013, in fact), is it regulatory burden holding things up? Or is it just “c’est la vie”?

    • JamesWimberley

      My prior is that EDF is foot-dragging on approvals and connections, and will continue to do so until Hollande orders it to stop. The stupid protectionist FIT rule is a sideshow. Without a clear right to install and to connect, French solar will continue to drift in the minor leagues.

      Because France is so centralised, you can’t rule out such a reversal, as you can in the USA or Germany. France used to have a mammoth state telecoms monopoly; now it has much more competition in Internet access than the USA, lower prices, and faster connection speeds.

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