France aims for up to 20GW of PV by 2023 with ambitious tender schedule.

French environment and energy minister Segolene Royal greenlights raft of new tenders for solar energy, including a three-fold increase in installed PV capacity, eyeing 20 GW by 2023.

The French environment and energy minister Segolene Royal announced this week the introduction of a number of new solar tenders in France for the development of various PV applications.

Chiefly, France is aiming to triple its solar PV capacity to 20 GW by 2023, with the tenders expected to hit incremental goals of 10.2 GW by 2018, and between 18.2 to 20.2 GW by 2023.

Segolene-Royal

Other tenders announced aim to support France’s stuttering building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) sector, with the French government earmarking 450 MW of BIPV tenders over the coming three years. Another tender will be aimed solely at the country’s self-consumption sector, particularly in C&I and agriculture, while 1 GW of tenders for ground mounted PV will be issued annually for the next six years.

An additional 50 MW tender for solar+storage has also been introduced for France’s overseas territories.

This latest suite of support for solar development follows the previous round of tenders – first introduced in 2014 – that have collectively attracted more than $1 billion in investment into France’s solar PV industry. Experts in the country believe that the certainty offered by this approach will curry further favor with investors, and should particularly help boost France’s ground-mount and BIPV sectors.

The plans were first announced by the Conseil Superieur de L’Energie (CSE) in April, which outlined how France will embrace further its use of solar and wind energy. However, the CSE confirmed that there will be no nuclear plant closures before 2019, but affirmed that nuclear’s share of the energy mix will fall from 75% currently to 50% by 2025.

For solar, the cumulative target for 2023 is relatively ambitious and certainly achievable. France currently has just over 6.2 GW of cumulative PV capacity installed – according to official figures from grid operator RTE – and added just under 1 GW of capacity in 2015. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) expects France to add around, or just above, 1 GW of new capacity this year, but the hope is that these new tenders will accelerate that pace of installation.

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