Only 613 MW of solar PV capacity was installed last year in France, according to data recently published by the French General Commission on Sustainable Development. That’s a significant drop from 2012, when 1.15 GW of capacity was installed — a 45% drop to be exact.
Given the reality, though, that there are currently about 35,128 PV projects (2.7 GW) pending approval throughout the country, it appears that the demand is still there, even with the anemic numbers during 2013. With that in mind, the French government has submitted a proposal to the country’s Energy Council to completely scrap France’s domestic content feed-in-tariff (FiT) bonus scheme. That scheme, for those that don’t know, allows PV system owners to receive a 5% or 10% bonus if their system-components were manufactured in the European Economic Area (EEA).
PV Magazine provides more:
The 5% bonus applies to residential buildings fitted with PV; ground-mounted PV plants, and systems with simplified integration that require crystalline modules. To be eligible for the bonus, these installations must use modules that were produced in the EEA, including the wafer transformation process. If those same crystalline modules were also assembled and laminated in the EEA, the system is then eligible for the 10% bonus. The same rules apply for systems that use thin-film modules.
The domestic content bonus was introduced early in 2013 for residential and simplified installations, and a little earlier for ground-mount plants. The government, having assessed its impact, or lack thereof, has suggested eliminating this incentive having recognized that such stipulations contravene European Union regulations and could no longer be justified as a means of protecting French consumer and public interest.
The proposal to scrap the bonus is set to be discussed by the appropriate authorities on March 12th. Even if the bonus does end up being repealed, those that have already applied will still be eligible.