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France gives nod to 1.7 GW of wind, solar projects

Solar panels. Photo by: Quadran (www.quadran.fr).

April 2 (Renewables Now) - The French government has awarded the winning status to around 1.7 GW of wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) projects that took part in national competitions and also approved commissioning extensions due to the COVID-19 situation.

The measures were undertaken amid the coronavirus pandemic and are aimed at supporting the renewables sector that has already been disrupted by the crisis, ecology minister Elisabeth Borne said. The initiatives were announced during an audio conference with developers.

“The health crisis that we are going through must not in any way make us give up the ambitious objectives in terms of development of renewable energies in the multi-annual energy programming,” Borne said.

APPROVED CAPACITY

A total of 288 projects have been picked to support the renewable energy industry’s growth as part of several procurement rounds. Once operational, this capacity will produce 2.6 TWh of electricity per year.

Among the approved projects, 35 are onshore wind installations of 749.3 MW in total, which were secured in a call for tenders targeting 630 MW. The targeted volume was subsequently increased due to the “very competitive” prices. The average price of winning bids was EUR 62.9 (USD 68.76) per MWh.

Some 649 MWp of capacity will come from 88 ground-mounted solar projects that won a competition with an average offered price of EUR 62.11/MWh. An additional 104 MWp will be added through 39 innovative solar projects, including agrivoltaic, and 94.2 MWp of capacity from 12 projects has been approved for the Haut-Rhin region to support the country after the planned closure of the Fessenheim nuclear power station. Self-consumption solar installations of 11.8 MWp and 101.7 MW of PV schemes in the overseas territories and Corsica are also among the list of selected proposals.

Further details are available in the table below.

Category Number of projects Awarded capacity Average winning bid (in EUR/MWh)
Onshore wind 35 749.3 MW 62.9
Ground-mounted PV 88 649 MWp 62.11
Innovative PV 39 104 MWp 82.8
Haut-Rhin PV 12 94.2 MWp 55.78 (ground-mounted)
92 (rooftop of over 500 kW)
98.5 (rooftop of less than 500 kW)
Self-consumption PV 30 11.8 MWp 15.97
Corsica, overseas PV 84 54.8 MW (PV+storage) 108.2
44.1 MW (PV only) 96.2
2.8 MW (self-consumption) 44.1

TIMELINE EXTENSIONS

As the COVID-19 spread and related lockdown measures to curb its effects have hurt the progress of many renewables projects, France will prolong the initial commissioning deadlines for projects under construction. A fixed period of extension will be defined for each sector.

Additionally, the government will freeze for three months power prices for small rooftop solar projects, which were planned to be cut on April 1.

Another measure to tackle the virus crisis is to extend the bidding windows in the various tender rounds. More details are available below.

  Old date New date
Solar PV on ground July 3 1/3 of the volume: July 3
2/3 of the volume: November 3
Solar PV Haut-Rhin July 31 September 30
Onshore wind July 1 1/3 of the volume: July 1
2/3 of the volume: November 1
Solar PV on buildings July 6 September 6
Innovative solar PV April 3 June 3
Solar PV non-interconnected zones June 12 August 12
Self-consumption May 18 July 18
Small hydro March 31 May 30

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.093)

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Veselina Petrova is one of Renewables Now's most experienced green energy writers. For several years she has been keeping track of game-changing events both large and small projects and across the globe.

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