In July 2011 the Minister for Ecology, Nathalie Kosciusko, announced that "the system does not change anymore", referring to stability and visibility for the PV sector. The announcement follows a new legal framework introduced by the government in March. Stated goal: better control of the development of solar energy to prevent a surge in costs which would impact too much on electricity bills.
For small roof installations below 100 kW (“peak” kilowatt, a measurement unit in the industry), hardly anything changes. This category, which notably includes individuals, remains funded by the previous feed-in tariff. For the others, however, it is a different story. From now on, every project will be subject to a call for tenders, depending on its size. The first type of Call for Tenders will cover installations on buildings ranging between 100 and 250 kW. The second covers those above 250 kW as well as ground-mounted projects.
For PV practitioners, this new regulation is like a cold shower, raising uncertainty for future projects. "Today, players wishing to answer those calls for tenders will have to deal with an “everything or nothing” system,” according to Jean-Baptiste Brochier, a consultant and solar energy specialist. “They end up with a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. Compared to a gradual system based on a feed-in tariff, they cannot be certain that their project will be selected, and there is no guarantee that the government will then retain any selected project!” In short, stability and visibility one day maybe, but not right now.
So, in these circumstances, what is the future of PV energy in France? And how can the industry bounce back? These questions will be at the centre of an international conference taking place on November 10 in Lyon and hosted by Solarplaza, an independent organization specializing in solar PV energy.
This major event will bring together players from the entire industry including PV professionals, government representatives, project developers and financial experts. These experts will present their predictions and ideas for developments in the French market and share their knowledge and experience. An opportunity not to be missed: http://www.thesolarfuture.fr/