EC Approves $ 6.7 billion Scheme in France for Rooftop Solar

Highlights :

  • For the nuclear powered French, faster solar additions are important to keep to their commitments for 2030 and beyond.
  • More European countries are expected to add solar capacity aggressively, making the region a solar hotspot for some time to come.

Rooftop solar development in France is set to get a big fillip with the European Commission approving a $6.7bn (€5.7bn) scheme to support renewable power generation from small solar installations located on buildings. France is also a founding member of the International Solar Association.

Approved under European Union (EU) state aid rules, the scheme will help France to add approximately 3,700MW of additional capacity in the solar renewable energy segment. France has struggled to find the land or suitable conditions for really large solar parks, although projects over 50 MW in size have been auctioned off in recent months. Currently, France has total installed capacity of over 11 GW, a majority in its sunnier, southern region.

Additionally, the move will help France to achieve its 2030 target of producing 33% of its energy needs from renewable sources, beyond nuclear power. France has already committed to reduce the share of nuclear energy, which accounts for over 75% of its current energy supplies, to 50 percent by 2035.

That requires a strong push for solar and wind energy.

The aid was approved after assessing the European Commission’s 2014 guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy.

European Commission executive vice-president in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “This $6.7bn (€5.7bn) support scheme will further help France in its transition to an environmentally sustainable energy supply.

“The measure, which will support production of renewable energy from small solar installations, complements another $35bn (€30.5bn) French scheme to support production of electricity from renewable energy sources that the Commission has approved last month.

“It will further stimulate the development of renewable energy sources, while ensuring a level playing field in the French energy market.”

Currently, France is the largest net exporter of electricity, thanks to its depreciated nuclear energy fleet.

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