France to add 3.7GW of solar capacity with €5.7bn aid

France is set to expand its portfolio of renewable energy capacity with an additional 3,700MW of solar energy using €5.7 billion ($6.7 billion) in funding approved by the European Commission.

The aid will help France to achieve its 2030 carbon emissions reduction target by expanding the rollout of small-scale solar energy buildings.

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition, said: “This €5.7 billion support scheme will further help France in its transition to an environmentally sustainable energy supply.

“The measure, which will support the production of renewable energy from small solar installations, complements another €30.5 billion French scheme to support the production of electricity from renewable energy sources that the Commission has approved last month. It will further stimulate the development of renewable energy sources while ensuring a level playing field in the French energy market.”

France has a target to produce 33% of its total energy from renewables by 2030 on a path to climate neutrality by 2050, and small-scale solar energy installations are expected to help drive the transition and increase consumer participation in climate mitigation and the energy transition.

Projects planning to install up to 500KW of solar capacity on buildings are eligible to receive funding up till 2026. Support will be issued in the form of a feed-in tariff (i.e., a guaranteed price for the electricity produced) over twenty years, according to a statement.

The financial support will be provided to project developers without a tender process.

The Commission will grant the aid as part of the 2014 Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy, which stipulates that countries should expand their renewables portfolio at the lowest cost to taxpayers.

Without aid and public support, France is struggling to expand its portfolio of renewable energy resources, according to the European Commission. Providing such funding will help the bloc achieve its Green Deal and Fit for 55 climate action targets which include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and producing 40% of energy from renewables.

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