Photovoltaic in: France – an overiew

Country: FranceSolarenergie Energiewende Stromerzeugung
Area: 668,763 km²
Population: 65.4 Million
Language: French
Government: Republic
Electricity Consumption: 425. 655 GWh/Year
Electricity Export: 56.570 GWh/year
Percentage Renewable Energy: 13.3%
Percentage Photovoltaic: 1%
Installed Photovoltaic Output: 3.6 GW
Solar Irradiation: 900kWh/m² bis 1,600 kWh/m²

Stromerzeugung Einspeisevergütung©Gyula Gyukli

Electricity and PV in France

France is known in Germany as „Atomland” (over 75% Nuclear powered). Although at 13.3% they are similar to Italy in their percentage of electricity sourced from renewables, in light of their high export of energy (above all nuclear), these numbers are relative. Photovoltaic is still skeptically received in France by industry and policy makers alike, the effects of which are seen in the low quantity of installed PV at around 3.6 GW. Just recently, the country approved construction of several additional nuclear plants, and when it comes to renewable energy there is a clear preference for hydroelectric. Photovoltaic comprises less than 1% of the total energy consumption, divided between more than 258,800 plants.

Policy and Feed-in Tariffs

French legislation regarding solar plants began with the first administrative regulation in July 2006 („Arrêté du 10 juillet 2006“). A peculiarity of the French regulation is that compensation varies depending not only on the type of plant, but also on its geographic location. Especially high tariffs are in place for overseas “Départments“ and Corsica.

With the “Arrêté du 12 janvier 2010“, the second administrative regulation in January 2010, France has aligned itself with the EU directive requiring that at least 20% of energy consumption be provided from alternative energy sources by the year 2020. The compensation clauses were modified, and since this last “Arrêté” rooftop installations in France can receive up to 0.58 €/kWh, the highest tariff for rooftop PV worldwide. At a minimum building and roof installations will make 0.42 €/kWh.

Grid Parity in France

Grid parity has still not been achieved in France. Current prognoses predict parity by 2020.


Should the 20% renewable energy mark not be achieved by 2020, France will fall under the jurisdiction of hefty EU sanctions. Likely in response to this, the current president François Hollande seems to be taking steps to separate his party from nuclear energy in general.

If and to what degree photovoltaic is a factor here is still unknown. At any rate, the high feed-in tariffs for PV in France are attractive for international, as well as local, investors. Potential changes to these tariffs are currently in debate, with arguments being made for increases as well as decreases.

Photovoltaic in: Italy – an overview

Country: ItalyFotovoltaica Italia Conto Energia
Area: 301,338km²
Population: 61 Million
Language: Italian
Government: Parliamentary Republic

Electricity Consumption: 313.433 GWh/Year
Electricity Import: 47.573 GWh/year
Percentage Renewable Energy: 13.7%
Percentage Photovoltaic: 6%
Installed Photovoltaic Output: 15 GW
Solar Irradiation: 1,100kWh/m² to 1,800kWh/m²

Erneuerbare Energien Strom Conto Energia

PV in Italy. ©gmalandra

Electricity and Photovoltaic in France

Italy, a prime travel destination for Germans due to its warm summers and numerous coasts, knows how to benefit from its high solar irradiation.

After Germany, it is the second largest producer of solar energy in Europe. Around 426,000 photovoltaic plants are installed in Italy, and more than 51,000 of these with capacity in excess of 20kWp.

Photovoltaic provides 6% of Italy’s power consumption, and constitutes 7% of all power generated in-country.

Policy and Feed-in Tariffs

The first law supporting photovoltaic in Italy came into effect in 2001. The “Tetti fotovoltaici” resulted in the construction of 22MW.

In 2005 the “Conto Energia” was adopted, in response to the success of the German Renewable Energy legislation.

In 2007 it was replaced by a second piece of legislation, the aptly named “Conto Energia II”. With feed-in tariff rates from 0.36 to 0.48 €/kWh, this policy resulted in the construction of over 6,600 MWs of solar plants.

The next significant developments took place in 2010 with the “Conto Energia III,” only to be replaced a few months later by a fourth Conto Energia.

The current law: Conto Energia V

Since the end of August 2012, the Conto Energia V has been the legal policy for the development and feed-in tariffs of renewable energies at large, and specifically photovoltaic.

Conto Energia V, following the trend of renewable energy policy in Germany, provides noticeably less support for photovoltaic as its predecessors. Especially small  scale systems of under 20kWp benefit from the new formulation, and systems installed in conjunction with the renovation of asbestos roofs stand to gain a great deal. Ground based systems, however, no longer qualify for subsidies in Italy. The Italian government’s focus is clearly on boosting local consumption through small scale systems on existing rooftops.

In order to receive subsidies, owners must register their systems. The budget is divided up as follows:

– 50 Million € for communal projects, especially innovative ideas in PV
– 140 Million € until February for new plants, the bigger, the smaller the subsidy
– After February, 120 Million € over six months, afterwards biannually another 80 Million €

Grid Parity in Italy

In Italy grid parity for PV-power has been achieved. That is to say, the production of solar electricity is cheaper than its purchase from the grid. Several specialized companies buy and sell privately produced electricity.


Current prognoses do not predict major development of solar in Italy, at least not to the scale of what occurred between 2005 and 2010. Nevertheless, in light of the achieved grid parity, it is likely that photovoltaic will continue to be an important topic in Italy. Subsidies for rooftop systems remain profitable and continued development in this sector is to be expected. Businesses and private individuals in possession of large rooftops will doubtless begin thinking very seriously about whether and how a solar system could be implemented on their property.

Future Market? Renewable energies and photovoltaics in Poland

EEG Photovoltaik Polen Wierzchosławice has made the decision – further installations should follow soon: in September 2011 the village counting 10.000 inhabitants inaugurated its 1 MW solar park and thanks to this produced ten times more electricity from photovoltaic than all other PV-installations in Poland together. Poland seems to be the future market for photovoltaic. Many businessmen and investors await curiously the news from the Polish government. For one thing is clear: the Law on Renewable Energies will come soon!
Already at the end of 2011 the Minister of Economy, Wlademar Pawlak, has presented a draft for Renewable Energy Law. However, it is expected that the actual legislation will enter into force only in the middle of next year. As regards content it appears that the share of renewable energies in the energy mix will be required to rise to 19% by 2020. Also a guarantee of feed-in-tariffs for 15 years appears on the horizon. With this mean the small and mini installations are to be heavily subsidized. However, also for the bigger PV system profitable funding is planned.
Certificate trade over quotas
Until now the renewable energies have been integrated into the general energy law through the system of Tradable Green Certificate. According to it, the energy providers have to prove to have bought the appropriate (established by the state agency) share of green certificates. The certificates can be obtained though production of renewable energy or be bought on the market. Their value lies at around PLN 277 (Złoty), so around € 66,50. However, there are plenty loopholes. The energy providers can provide compensation fee, which is only slightly more expensive than the certificates. To do that, energy providers only have to prove that there are no renewable electricity producers in the vicinity.
As an additional incentive for developing renewable energies in Poland serves the current state of energy generation in Poland – over 80% of the Polish electricity production comes from the coal-fired power plants dated for the 1970s and 1980s. Many of them will be soon disconcerted from the grid due to their old age – for this reason until 2020 coal power stations with the total capacity of 7 GW will be closed and until 2030 around 15 GW. Meanwhile the demand for electricity is increasing. Hence, this poses perfect conditions for renewables to fill this gap.
Change is dependent on the administration and the society
The rapid development could be hindered through bureaucratic obstacles. Investors should definitely inform themselves beforehand whether the planned area has the original agricultural use. Successful rededication of such land will only be possible in case of poor conditions for cultivating this area. Additionally, for installation with capacity of above 2 MW there has to be a grid-testing expertise issued, what can lead to delays in receiving the grid connection.
The Polish government assumes in its planning scenarios a maximal growth of photovoltaic of 1,8 GW until 2020. There was nothing said about an overall cap of the capacity, however, one could fear that an enormous (over)growth of PV in a short time will lead to cuts in subsidies.
One is clear – in the next years the energy mix in Poland will change. Vital for the extent and most importantly the speed of change will first of all be the details of the upcoming Renewable Energy Law, as well as the readiness of the society and communities to offer the area for PV projects.
Sources:,, Sonne Wind & Wärme 8/2012 S.228-229, EurObserv’ER,

Milk the Sun was awarded at the Green Apple Award in the category Europe: Best Practice held in the House of Commons in London

London / Berlin. Milk the Sun was awarded the Green Apple Award for Environmental Best Practice 2012 in Europe during the distinctions of the International Green Apple Awards conducted in the House of Commons in Palace of Westminster in London. German company received the bronze prize for its innovative business model from the hands of the MP, Liz Kendall.

The Green Apple Award is among the eldest and most recognized environmental prizes worldwide and it is awarded all year long by the charitable Green Organisation. This environmental award (sponsored by the British government) is granted to companies which develop and offer sustainable as well as resources’ preserving products, solutions and business models.

The CEO, Felix Krause has accepted the award in the name of the online marketplace, Milk the Sun. Following the acceptance of the reward, he proclaimed: “The reward endorses the engagement and contribution of Milk the Sun in the solar industry. Such prestigious recognition, especially here in Palace of Westminster makes us proud and encourages us to further efforts in this field”.

Milk the Sun (to be found at, with the registered office in Berlin, provides the first marketplace for the Europe-wide trade of photovoltaic project rights (primary markets) and already-existing installations (secondary market). Additionally, it offers a comprehensive range of services accompanying the photovoltaic installations.

ENcome signs sales partnership with Milk the Sun

Comprehensive service portfolio of ENcome Energy Performance becomes available on one of the leading European online platforms for photovoltaic installations.

From today on interested owners can directly receive detailed offers of ENcome’s vendor- and constructor-independent services through Milk the Sun. In return, the marketplace supports ENcome’s customers to find new solar projects all over Europe. This cooperation enables ENcome and Milk the Sun to provide a wider range of support. As Dr. Robin Hirschl, ENcome Energy Performance GmbH’s managing partner puts it, “Our common initiative with Milk the Sun ensures that the best photovoltaic installations will receive the best support over the entire life cycle.”



Don't miss our newsletter!

Did you like what you were reading? Subscribe to our newsletter and always be up to date.

Your data will be handled in confidence.