European Commission approves French € 5.7 billion scheme to support electricity production from small solar installations


The European Commission has cleared, under EU state aid rules, a € 5.7 billion French aid scheme to support the production of renewable electricity from small solar installations located on buildings.

This measure will allow France to reach its 2030 objective of producing 33% of its energy needs from renewable sources and will contribute to the European objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, without unduly distorting competition.

This 5.7 billion euro support scheme will further help France in its transition to an energy supply that respects the environment. The measure, which will support the production of renewable energy from small solar installations, complements another French program of € 30.5 billion 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 on the French energy market.

The French scheme:

France has notified the Commission of its intention to introduce a new support scheme for the production of electricity from solar installations.

The device, which has a provisional budget of around 5.7 billion euros and will run until 2026, will be open to operators of small photovoltaic installations located on buildings with a capacity of up to 500 kilowatts.

These installations will be able to benefit from support in the form of a feed-in tariff (ie a guaranteed price for the electricity produced) over twenty years. The level of feed-in tariffs will vary depending on the size of the installation and the economic model (i.e. installations injecting all electricity into the network or installations consuming part of the electricity produced) .

With this measure, France plans to develop an additional 3,700 megawatts of renewable solar energy.

The Commission’s assessment:

The Commission has assessed the scheme against EU state aid rules, in particular the 2014 guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy.

The Commission considered that the aid is necessary to further develop the production of renewable energy and enable France to achieve its environmental objectives and its renewable energy objectives. It also has an incentive effect, as projects would not take place in the absence of public support.

As these are small solar installations of less than 1 megawatt, the aid will be granted without a call for tenders. This is in line with what is foreseen by the 2014 guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy. The Commission has found that, in any event, the aid is proportionate and limited to the minimum necessary.

Finally, the Commission found that the positive effects of the measures, in particular the positive effects on the environment, outweighed any negative effects in terms of distortions of competition.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the French scheme complies with EU state aid rules, as it will facilitate the development of renewable energy production in France and reduce emissions of gas to greenhouse effect, in accordance with the European Green Deal, without unduly distorting competition. .

The scheme complements the general renewable energy aid scheme approved by the Commission on 27 July 2021 (SA.50272), which allows aid to be awarded through calls for tenders to various renewable installations, including installations solar cells with a capacity greater than 500 kilowatts.

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European Commission Press Service, Brussels.

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