The solar becomes increasingly competitive in France

This is a document still awaited: the Commission of energy regulation (CRE) has published the balance sheet of the costs of photovoltaic systems of large and me

The solar becomes increasingly competitive in France

This is a document still awaited: the Commission of energy regulation (CRE) has published the balance sheet of the costs of photovoltaic systems of large and medium-sized surfaces. "The analysis focuses on the overall costs of investment and operation for the projects submitted in calls for tender of the 2017 and 2018", takes care to specify the regulator. The cost of investment - which covers 80% of the cost of production-has declined by an average of 32 % in three years. Depending on the size of facilities, the average costs of production fall on a scale ranging from 62 to 99 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh). For larger installations, these costs fall below the symbolic threshold of 50 euros MWh.

These statistics are to say to the CRE that the solar sector, French is perfectly competitive with those of other comparable countries: the regulator leading the case, in particular Germany, where production costs range between € 40 and € 70. How do you explain that France has - almost - managed to rise to the high country but left with a good lead in solar power? Of course, the technological advances are apparent, with higher yields and production modules to be both more effective and less expensive. But this is not all: in its report, the CRE stresses that the scale effects observed are substantial. In short, most of the facilities are important, the more the production costs of solar down significantly.

2% of the electricity consumption in France

In these conditions, the regulator argues that this has encouraged the setting up of projects of a higher power at 30 megawatts (MW). This would allow some projects to "no longer use the mechanisms of public support, as it has begun to be observed in the neighbouring countries".

a geographic point of view, the report of the CRE recalls that the south of France is a privileged region for accommodating the photovoltaic projects, but that this is not a discriminatory criteria: other areas in the country to host solar farms, knowing that the rental of land is an expense subject to strong variations from one region to the other.

The developments observed by the CRE suggest a good margin of progression for the solar still covers only 2% of the electricity consumption in France.

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Updated Date: 15 March 2019, 00:00

Kathleen Lees

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