Clean Power

Published on July 14th, 2014 | by James Ayre


French Solar Industry Pushing Government To Set Stronger Targets

July 14th, 2014 by  

The French solar energy industry — via a consortium of twelve major firms — is currently pushing the French government hard for the adoption of stronger solar energy goals, according to recent reports.

To be more specific, the firms are pushing the new environment and energy minister, Ségolène Royal, to raise the country’s solar energy goal to 5% (of total capacity) by 2025 — represented via at least 25 GW of installed capacity.

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

According to the consortium — which is composed of Solaire Direct, Exosun, and others — the solar energy sector in the country currently directly employs around 10,000 people, and indirectly employs around another 15,000. With the proposed stronger targets, these numbers could climb significantly — to 25,000 directly employed, and another 35,000 indirectly employed by 2025. So the consortium argues anyways. Though the numbers do sound reasonable.

As it stands now, France possesses about 4 GW of total installed capacity. The country’s current target is to have 5.4 GW of total capacity installed by 2020.

The general secretary of the renewable energy association Enerplan, Richard Loyen, commented that it was well nigh time for the government to take stronger actions to grow the country’s solar sector.

“This is our fourth energy minister since Hollande took power and we are still waiting for the energy transition law. Royal is known to be friendly to solar and proactive, we should be optimistic but now we need some concrete measures. It’s been more than two years without one.”

Given the country’s notable potential with regard to solar energy, the current targets, and the newly proposed ones as well, aren’t exactly awe-inspiring. Especially when you consider that even countries like Iran are beginning to make real moves towards solar energy. Still, better than nothing I guess.

On the subject of Iran’s renewable energy targets, the country has apparently already committed itself to spending $60 million on solar PV targets this year.

That number represents a significant uptick from the previous year’s number ($12 million), and a strong step towards the country’s goal of 5 GW of new renewable energy capacity by the year 2018.

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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+.

  • Ronald Brakels

    Given France’s difficulty in meeting summer demand, their sunny by European standards weather, high retail electricity prices, and the need to start shutting down elderly reactors, point of use solar would seem to be a natural fit for France. A simple right to install solar on any building that is not of genuine historical value combined with permitless installation should get their installation costs down to German levels in very little time. (Solar was 46% more expensive in France than Germany in 2012.) And with German costs and French sunshine and retail electricity prices rooftop solar will be a clear winner. Given that France’s installed generation base is mostly nuclear rather than fossil fuel they should seize the very easy to grasp opportunity to become a green superpower.

  • JamesWimberley

    Royal is experienced and a heavy hitter. The Socialist government has to do something quickly to restore Hollande’s abysmal ratings. She’s also his ex-partner and mother of his children – they trendily never got married. So there’s empathy there as well as hostility. Many vested interests – all the énarques in EDF and RTF, brought up on Colbertian centralisation and arrogance – will be against the anarchy of distributed solar, but against them you have farmers and rural mayors who like the idea of rents and local taxes for no work. Plus, Paris is hosting the next UN climate beanfest in 2015, and will need shiny projects to show. There’s a decent chance of action.

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