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European Commission approves French aid scheme for renewables

September 16, 2021 PV InfoLink

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The European Commission has approved a EUR 30.5 billion aid program for France to boost its development of renewable energy, indicating the EU’s commitment to achieve renewable energy targets. 

Under the state aid rules, seven types of tenders to be held up to 2026, including ground-mounted PV stations, distribution PV stations, and onshore wind farms, are eligible for the grants. The budget can support around 34 GW of renewable capacity for as long as 20 years.

The aid is seen as an extension of the Fit for 55 package released by the EU on July 14. The package aims to raise the share of renewables from the current 20% to 40% by 2030. With this incentive scheme, France is expected to raise that figure to 33% by 2030.

Additionally, the EU recently granted France a EUR 5.7 billion budget to support installations of rooftop projects with a capacity of up to 500 kw until 2026. Installations approved will receive payments through FIT mechanism for more than 20 years. This means that households or businesses participating will attain 20 years or longer period of guaranteed prices for electricity generated. With this aid program, France is expected to add 3.7 GW of installed PV capacity.

A new form of subsidiary measure like this has been long-awaited by the renewable industry, for current tendering system is not very effective for small-scaled projects, given the absolute capability difference between small and medium enterprises and professional large-scaled developers, according to observation of PV industrial labor unions. The novel and non-tendering system not only enhances supports for the development of renewables but also ensures a level playing field in the French energy market.

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