Many of France’s large-scale solar projects have had to be set aside temporarily due to pressures from the energy crisis causing poor access to equipment and a rise in the levelised cost of electricity.
Some projects which became no longer bankable were close to abandonment so France’s solar association Enerplan has worked with authorities to pull together support schemes to avoid postponements and try to bring such projects back from the brink.
Modules, inverters and steel are just a few of the materials that are now hard to come by, Daniel Bour, president of Enerplan told PV Tech Premium. Since August 2022, the French government has deployed emergency measures, including enabling tender winners to benefit from the sale of electricity at market rates for up to 18 months.
The industry is also currently working hand in hand with the government to ensure that the significant increase in aggregation costs might also be taken into account by state-supported contracts for difference.
Despite a large number of swiftly applied policy and legislative changes in response to the energy crisis, Bour said that hundreds of megawatts projects have been put on hold due to delays over permitting procedures as well as debates over whether PV projects artificialise soils or not. This is the process of waterproofing soils that can cause sometimes irreversible damage to the environment and the agricultural production potential of that land going forward.
A bill is currently being discussed in the French Parliament to speed up renewable energy sources, including temporary or permanent simplifications on permitting, increasing eligible areas for ground-mounted solar or increasing solar mandates on rooftops.