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France’s PV hits 8 GW milestone

The French solar market grew by 49% last year, with new additions reaching a total capacity of 875 MW.

France installed 875 MW of new PV capacity in 2017, according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry for an Ecological and Inclusive Transition (MTES). This is up 49% from 2016, when 16,491 PV installations totaling 587 MMW were installed and connected to the grid in the country.

Last year’s growth was made possible by a strong fourth quarter, in which over 394 MW of new PV systems were deployed. This compares to 183 MW in the third quarter, 213 MW in the second quarter, and only 86 MW in the first quarter of this year.

Around two thirds of last year’s new capacity, namely 577 MW comes from PV installations exceeding in size 250 kW, while the category of PV systems ranging in size from 100 kW to 250 kW accounted for only 44 MW. The second largest category was that of PV projects with a capacity between 36 kW and 100 kW, for which around 162 MW were reported. The remaining 93 MW were for systems not exceeding 36 kW in size.

Overall, France’s cumulative installed PV power has reached 8,044 MW as of the end of December 2017. Of this capacity, 7,658 MW is located on the French mainland, while the remaining 386 MW is installed in France’s overseas territories.

The French mainland’s regions with the highest amount of installed solar power are: Nouvelle Aquitanie (2,044 MW); Occitanie (1,608 MW); Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (1,110 MW); and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (777 MW). Among France’s overseas territories, La Réunion still claims the lion’s share, with 189 MW, followed by Guadeloupe (70 MW), Martinique (66 MW), Guyane (46 MW), and Mayotte (15 MW).

The MTES also said that the combined capacity of PV projects awaiting grid connection at the end of December was 2.87 GW, and that of this capacity 931 MW had already obtained grid approval.

Furthermore, the MTES has reported that electricity production from solar source increased by 12% last year with around 8,6 TWh. This was enough to cover around 1.8% of France’s power demand in 2017, while in the previous year this percentage had been of 1.6%.

Emiliano Bellini