(Montel) Solar production costs in France have fallen by around a third since 2016, making the nation more attractive for investors in the renewable energy source, according to a new study released by French energy regulator CRE on Thursday.
Average production costs for solar photovoltaic (PV) installations now range between EUR 62-99/MWh, depending on the size and characteristics of projects.
“For large ground installations, the costs of the most competitive of them are around EUR 48/ MWh,” CRE said in the study, based on the projects submitted for tenders between 2016 and 2018.
By comparison, production costs in Germany, Europe’s biggest producer of solar energy, range from EUR 40-70/MWh, according to the report, noting the French market for solar “is perfectly competitive”.
In 2016, France launched a 3 GW call for tenders for large scale, ground mounted solar installations, divided into six nomination periods with 500 MW capacity each. The tenders will run until June 2019, although CRE noted that participation in the tenders has tapered off as of late.
This could be due to a mismatch between the volumes allocated in the context of competitive bidding procedures and the development capacity of the sector, said the regulator. It called for “an adaptation of the tenders’ volume or frequency to ensure a satisfactory level of competition”.
The CRE study concluded that solar PV projects larger than 30 MW would pave the way for more competitive prices and lessen the need for subsidies, as observed in other European countries.
At the end of 2018, the installed solar capacity in France reached 8.5 GW, accounting for around 2% of the nation’s total electricity mix, compared with 6.8 GW at the end of 2016.
France aims to increase solar capacity over the next decade, targeting 18-20 GW by 2023 and 36-45 GW by 2028.