- France has reported 601 MW newly installed solar PV capacity in Q1/2023
- Country’s cumulative installed PV capacity as of March 31, 2023 stood at 17.15 GW
- Project capacity in queue has increased by 10% since the beginning of the year to 18.5 GW, including 4.4 GW with a signed connection agreement
French solar PV installations continue to develop at a slow but steady pace with a total of 601 MW deployed in Q1/2023 up from 596 MW last year, taking the country’s cumulative PV capacity to 17.15 GW, according to the Données et Etudes Statistiques or Data and Statistical Studies Department (SDES) under the country’s Ministry of Energy.
Previously, SDES had pegged Q1/2022 solar installations in France as even lower at 484 MW that declined more than 34% from 736 MW in Q1/2021 (see France Installed 484 MW Solar In Q1/2022).
During the reporting quarter, France saw 40% of the newly connected power come from system sizes of more than 250 kW which represents only 0.2% of the number of new connections. Those with less than 9 kW capacity represent 93% of the new units and 22% of new connections.
Most of this capacity in Q1 was installed in Mainland France with New Aquitaine region installing the highest geographically at 117 MW.
On cumulative basis, of 17.15 GW, New Aquitaine region takes the top spot with 4.04 GW, followed by 3.27 GW in Occitania and 2.02 GW in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, among other regions.
As per its multi-year energy program (PPE), France aims to grow its aggregate solar PV capacity to 20.1 GW by the end of 2023, which it should comfortably reach if it exceeds the annual capacity of 2.58 GW it installed last year. Thereafter, the official target is to scale up to between 35.1 GW and 44.0 GW by 2028-end.
According to PV sector association SolarPower Europe (SPE), France should be installing around 5 GW annually to be able to achieve its 44 GW target.
The PPE targets for 2033 are expected to be revised in 2023 which SPE hopes will be more ambitious as the French transmission system operator RTE predicts 70 GW to 208 GW of solar capacity installations in the country in 2050, as per SPE’s EU Market Outlook For Solar Power 2022-2026 (see European Union To Exit 2022 With Over 41 GW Solar Installed).
SDES said the capacity of the projects in the queue has increased by 10% since the beginning of the year to stand at 18.5 GW, including 4.4 GW with a signed connection agreement.
In the long run, France has very unambitious solar targets. In February 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron has said his country will multiply its installed solar power capacity to exceed 100 GW by 2050 as solar energy is cheaper and fits more easily into the landscape, referring to its versatility, while offshore wind will be expanded to around 40 GW, from practically nothing as of now (see France Announces 100 GW Solar Target).