On Monday, Jean-Louis Borloo, Minister of State, Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Planning announced France’s new renewable energy plan.
The plan aims to boost the amount of renewable energy in France’s general energy consumption mix to 23% by 2020. This renewables share is the equivalent to approximately 20 million tons of oil.
Given the breadth of the initiatives covering bioenergy, wind, geothermal, hydro and solar energy from the sea, the Minister believes the program will greatly boost the French renewables market, accelerate research and develop a solid solar industry in France.
The local solar sector will be a major beneficiary of the sweeping changes with the ambitious plan calling for expansion of solar energy based electricity production by a factor of 400 by 2020.
Among the solar initiative, tenders will soon be called for the construction by 2011 of at least one solar power plant in each region of France, for a combined capacity of 300 megawatts.
It will also see the establishment of one of the world’s most generous feed in tariff plans, that is where grid connected solar power system owners will be paid a premium rate over and above the general market rate for the electricity they produce. This very high rate is designed to not only increase the uptake of residential solar power systems, but to encourage larger installations on supermarkets and public buildings such as schools and colleges.
France will also make reforms to building codes to prevent opposition to the installation of renewable energy to buildings and the renovation of buildings owned by the State will include the installation of photovoltaic panels on roofs.