Emerging PV Market Brief: France

by Silvia Christel

The global PV market is expanding. For much of the past decade, policy-driven demand in Japan, German and Spain defined the size and scope of the PV market. Reliance on these markets drove short-term growth for many companies at the expense of consumer diversification, marketing sophistication and sales channel creation in smaller markets. In the current market, however, developing business in the secondary markets – France, Italy, Greece, South Korea, Portugal, India and others – will be crucial for the continued success of many industry participants. Each of these markets have introduced substantial policy support programs, some that even outpace those found in Germany and Spain, and each represents a new key market for the continued development of the PV industry.

This report applies GTM Research’s groundbreaking analytical framework to a study of the French PV market. It takes a deep dive into the structure of the French energy sector, current and future PV policies and support programs, and PV project economics on Mainland France and the overseas departments. This report is an essential resource for any PV market players considering a move into the French market. It explores the opportunities presented by a proposed feed-in tariff for flat plate commercial PV as well the challenges PV market development will face from France’s low electricity prices and low-carbon economy. Along the way, we provide unique insight derived from our projections of French PV supply and demand.

Key Insights:

  • The French PV market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 86 percent between 2006 and 2012, reaching nearly 1 GW of cumulative installed capacity by that time.
  • France will be a net importer of PV modules throughout this period, as estimated production among the country’s major suppliers fall below 200 MW in 2012.
  • The combination of BIPV-focused feed-in tariffs, low-interest loans and a substantial tax rebate for residential systems currently drives internal rates of return in excess of 8 percent throughout Mainland France. This presents a substantial investment opportunity for residential integrators and installers seeking new business in the French market.
  • Project analysis using the proposed €0.45/kWh feed-in tariff for non-integrated commercial rooftops demonstrates internal rates of return in excess of 10 percent. The greater level of expertise developers have with installing non-integrated rooftop projects in neighboring countries, including Germany and Italy, mean this segment of the market could become the fastest growing and most lucrative for outside developers.

Featured in this Report:

  • Detailed analysis of all French PV policies and support programs, including application and interconnection procedures.
  • Complete forecast of French wafer, cell, and module capacity and production from 2007 through 2012.
  • Analysis and forecast of PV demand and market share composition in Mainland France and the overseas departments from 2000 through 2012.
  • Detailed project economics analysis of residential BIPV systems, large ground-mount installations in the overseas departments, and non-integrated commercial rooftops on the Mainland.
  • Assessment of investment and market entry opportunities on both the supply and demand sides in France over the next five years.
Silvia Christel Consulting Analyst, European Markets

Silvia joined Greentech Media in 2008 to focus on the European renewable energy market's development with specific emphasis on the solar industry. She has marketing experience from her work with a non-profit environmental organization located in Munich. Silvia has a degree in economic geography from the University of Munich.

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