The government of France has decided to double the size of an upcoming solar energy tender from 400 megawatts (MW) up to 800 MW — owing partly to the fact that bid prices for solar energy projects have fallen, putting them on a similar level to wind energy project bids.
Previously, the French government had set the limit for the new solar energy tender (for ground- or roof-mounted systems over 250 kilowatts/kW in size) at 400 MW — but following a similar move made with regard to a recent solar energy tender for systems between 100-250 kW in size, strong demand (and probably also an interest in making strong moves before the upcoming climate talks that France is hosting) has resulted in the government doubling the limit.
This move closely follows the French government’s recent passing of somewhat ambitious new energy laws — by “somewhat ambitious,” what I mean is that the new laws are certainly better than nothing, but not where they would need to be to truly “prevent” catastrophic climate change. Perhaps stronger terms and laws will accompany the upcoming climate talks? One can hope, anyways.
As far as the recent doubling of the solar tender, the new 400 MW of tender capacity will be awarded to projects that met the original bid deadline back in June. That deadline saw bids for projects totaling more than 2000 MW worth of capacity submitted, competing for spots within the 200 MW of ground-mounted solar project capacity slated for the tender. One other reason for the increased size of the tender may simply be the competitiveness (low price) of solar projects bid at that time, of course.
Worth noting here is that none of these bids (owing to tender rules) were for projects being developed on agricultural land, with the intention being to preserve the county’s productive agricultural sector. Rather, projects slated to be developed on brownfield sites and/or old industrial sites are being given preference.
Image Credit: French Flag via Flickr CC
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