The French market

The French photovoltaic energy market has seen substantial growth, with capacity jumping from 271 MW in March 2010 to 5,700 MW in September 2015.

Most of the volumes were developed after the moratorium of 2010 and the sharp drop in the purchase obligation rate, which shows that solar PV energy is increasingly competitive compared with other electricity production sources. (The purchase obligation rate is the remuneration for the electricity produced by photovoltaic installations, which is fixed by a purchasing contract).

In France, the economic situation is conducive to renewable energy for the following reasons:

  • the acceleration of energy transition. Under the Energy Transition Law adopted in 2015, the French government has raised its renewable energy production targets from 16% to 40% of the energy mix by 2030
  • the increase in nuclear energy costs; linked to a high renewal rate and the replacement of existing nuclear plants
  • The commitment of regions to develop clean and decentralized energy under the positive-energy regions for green growth project (Territoires à énergie positive pour la croissance verte)
  • Key Figures

  • 60

    60 solar projects (built or under construction)

  • 460,2

    460,2 MW of total capacity

  • 200

    More than 200 MW under development


    • 2007
    • Creation in December of Solaire Durance, a joint subsidiary of Solairedirect and Caisse des Dépôts, to finance the first solar park projects in France
    • In March, first fundraising, with a €6.1 million capital increase
    • 2008
    • Beginning of construction of Solairedirect's first solar park in Vinon-sur-Verdon (Var)
    • 2009
    • completion of an €83 million financing package for the Les Mées solar park (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), with an installed capacity of 24 MW
    • 2010
    • Launch of the Rhodia Belle Etoile project (Lyon), one of the world's largest rooftop industrial photovoltaic installations, in a SEVESO site
    • 2011
    • Launch of the Regional Electricity (ESTER) model
    • Inauguration of the Esparron-de-Verdon (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence) solar park, the first in France to obtain ISO 14 001 certification, and which has a cost of electricity production of €154/MW
    • 2013
    • Inauguration of the first solar park at €110/MWh in La Verdière
    • Inauguration of two 8.2 MW solar parks in Varages, with Caisse des Dépôts and the city of Varages
    • 2014
    • Solairedirect finalizes the financing of 13 solar parks in France for a total amount of €168 million and a production capacity of 136.8 MW
    • 2015 
    • Solairedirect joins the ENGIE group in September
    • 2006
    • Creation of Solairedirect by seven founders

Our strategy in France

Solairedirect initially focused its activity in France before expanding to the international market in 2009. One of Solairedirect’s strengths is its ability to support local communities in the energy transition and to develop partnerships with local stakeholders. Since September 2015 and its acquisition by ENGIE, the company has become a market leader of solar power in France.

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