France Implements New Renewable Tariffs for Solar, Wind, and Biogas

By Paul Gipe


In a major breakthrough, the announcement doubles payment for solar energy and biogas, putting France on a par with Germany.

By Paul Gipe

The French Ministry for Industry, Finance, and Economics today has issued new tariffs for solar, wind, biogas and geothermal energy.

The new tariffs are the result of the regularly scheduled review of the French program that pays for electricity generated by renewable sources of energy.

France has lagged behind other European countries, notably Germany, in developing renewable energy. Previous French tariffs for solar energy were especially noncompetitive with those in Germany and Spain.

The French program of Advanced Renewable Tariffs differentiates the price paid per kilowatt-hour by technology, by location or size of the installation, and the number of years the generator has been in service.

The new tariffs pay Euro 0.55/kWh for building-integrated solar photovoltaics, putting France on a par with world leader Germany. (See below for currency conversion.) France also doubled payment for electricity from rooftop solar panels to Euro 0.30/kWh and provides a 50% subsidy on the cost of the solar panels and other equipment.

The regional government of Rhone-Alps in southeastern France also provides an additional payment of Euro 0.30/kWh, bringing total payment for rooftop solar to Euro 0.60/kWh, more than that paid in Germany.

Industry analysts expect the new solar tariffs to result in a boom of new solar construction.

While the new tariffs did not increase the base rate for on shore wind energy in continental France, they doubled the amount of time that wind projects receive the premium payment from five to ten years. This significantly improves the profitability of wind turbines at moderately windy and windy sites.

The new tariffs also substantially raised the tariffs for off shore wind turbines to Euro 0.13/kWh and also extended the premium period from five to ten years.

Politicians didn’t forget to include French farmers. Tariffs for biogas were more than doubled to Euro 0.103/kWh for plants less than 150 kW. As in solar photovoltaics, this tariff places France in league with Germany.

France has a very ambitious target of 12,500 MW of wind energy installed on land by 2010. This year France will pass its first 1,000 MW of wind projects. There are nearly 3,000 MW of wind projects in the queue for installation under the previous French wind tariffs.