In general, the current penetration rate of solar installations in France is still low. In order to encourage consumers to use new energy, the government has decided to increase the cost of online purchase of solar and biological power generation installations from June 2005. Financial subsidies are given to solar installations.
Although France has initiated the “Solar Project” since 1996 to encourage and promote the use of solar energy, the development has been relatively slow. After 2006, the French government has paid more attention to and emphasized the use of renewable energy, and provided policy support. It has also established a national management agency for renewable energy for comprehensive coordination. After two years of hard work, the use of solar energy in France has grown rapidly, the area of new solar energy utilization devices has doubled, and the solar photovoltaic capacity and total volume have also been greatly improved. According to the forecast of the French Solar Energy Professional Association, by 2020, the scale of solar photovoltaic power generation in France will reach 1.34×105kW, which will account for 3% of France’s total electricity consumption.
In late October 2008, the first solar power station capable of “tracking” the sun was put into use in the small town of Martiac, France. The so-called power station that can “track” the sun means that the photoelectric conversion panel of each solar receiver of the solar power station uses the “sunlight sensor tracking” technology, which can automatically adjust the position of the solar panel to the light surface during the sunshine time, which is better than normal. The solar energy receiving and utilization device can receive and convert 20%~10% more solar energy. The Bordeaux region is one of the regions with the best sunlight exposure in France, and it is also a region with relatively developed solar energy utilization in France. According to the EXOSUN company responsible for the project, the new solar power station has a power generation capacity of 100kW. The solar photovoltaic receiving and converting device of the entire power station covers an area of 3500m, and the ultimate goal is to achieve a maximum power generation capacity of 2MW in the future. The ownership of the power station belongs to the new energy research and development department of EDF. The power station is an experimental power station, used to test various new technologies of this new type of power station that can “track” sunlight, and accumulate relevant operating experience for further promotion and application.
French tire manufacturer Michelin announced on January 29, 2009 that it will install the largest rooftop photovoltaic panel at its Cuneo plant in Italy. The photovoltaic panels over 1.47×105 square meters are installed in the plant in Piedmont, Italy. These photovoltaic panels can generate nearly 1×107 kW·h per year, and the generated electricity is equivalent to being used by 2,000 people, which is equivalent to reducing CO21200t per year. The photovoltaic power generation facility was put into use in early 2010 and was developed and operated by Frey Nouve1les Energy Company.
EDFEN and First Solar announced on July 24, 2009 the construction of the country’s largest 100MW photovoltaic panel production plant in France. The solar photovoltaic panels produced by the plant will use First Solar’s advanced thin-film photovoltaic technology, and the plant will be put into operation in the second half of 2011. First Solar has invested more than 90 million euros in the construction and operation of the plant.
Renuso1, a leading rooftop photovoltaic installation manufacturer, launched a rooftop integrated photovoltaic installation system to the market in 2010 (Figure 1). The new rooftop integrated PV installation system will further expand the French building integrated photovoltaic market. In France, the aesthetics and design of PV systems play an important role, and rooftop photovoltaic installations will receive the greatest tax relief. The roof integrated photovoltaic installation system called “IntraSoleDS” is composed of a thin-film module roof integrated system, which meets high aesthetic standards. The system has direct washing performance on leaves and dirt, so it can be self-cleaned without maintenance. The design of IntraSoleDS is extremely suitable for flexible installation systems, and it is arranged at an inclination angle of 15° to the roof.
The T-Solar Group, a leader in the photovoltaic power generation market in southern Europe, announced on February 2, 2010 that it will develop a 120MW photovoltaic solar power matrix in France in the next three years. Global Eco power and T-Solar Group will form a joint venture T-SEP for this purpose. In January 2009, France issued stimulating tax incentives: 31.4 Euro cents/(kW.h) for ground facilities, 42~50 Euro cents/(kW.h) for rooftop facilities, and an obligation to purchase electricity for a period of 20 year.
GDF Suez and Daniel Rolland signed a contract on February 12, 2010 to build the largest solar photovoltaic system in Cur bans, France. The Cur bans solar photovoltaic facility has a total installation capacity of 33MW and uses approximately 145,000 photovoltaic panels, which can generate 4.35×107/kW.h. of renewable electricity per year. The Cur bans solar photovoltaic facility will occupy an area of 150 acre and be installed at a height of 3280ft. On the flat ground. It is planned to be put into use in 2011.