The French commitment to solar energy has recently been highlight by the online news resource, PV Tech, as well as on the website of EDF Group, a utility giant in France and elsewhere in Europe.  Just to translate the EDF Group’s significance in terms of global energy production – the company is involved in supplying energy and services to approximately 37.1 million customers, of which 26.2 million in France. The EDF Group generated consolidated sales of €71 billion in 2016.  So these folks are already big players in terms of European developments in the energy arena.

Now comes the recent news.  Through its subsidiary EDF Energies Nouvelles, the EDF group has just announced that it intends to develop and build 30GW of solar plants in France between 2020 to 2035 – this is in addition to the firm’s other worldwide commitments.  This will result in capacity four times greater than France’s current capacity, which as of 30 June 2017, stood at 7.4GW.

EDF’s plan is also expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in France during the construction period and the firm is targeting a “vigourous rate of expansion”.  The firm’s strategy is described as three-fold:  1) using current land assets to build solar facilities near existing nuclear power plants; 2) converting industrial wasteland or dismantled sites to solar sites; and 3) developing floating solar plants on hydroelectric sites.  Clearly France’s commitment to solar energy will impact the generation and distribution of solar power in France and beyond.

On the company’s website, Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF chairman and chief executive, said: “The Solar Power Plan is of an unparalleled scale and marks a real turning point in EDF’s development of solar power capacity. It is a concrete illustration of the goals outlined in the Group’s CAP 2030 strategy, which was initiated in 2015 and aim to double the Group’s installed renewable energy capacity by 2030. EDF now has a new roadmap in renewables for the next fifteen years.”  And, it’s not just solar EDF is commited to.  Antoine Cahuzac, group executive director in charge of renewable energies and chairman-chief executive of EDF Energies Nouvelles, said: “This effort comes in addition to our plans for expanding on wind and hydro capacity. It is a further sign of the Group’s commitment to the energy transition.”  Impressive, don’t you think?

Consider these facts:  By the end of 2016, Wikipedia reports that the world’s cumulative photovoltaic capacity increased by more than 75 gigawatt (GW) and reached at least 303 GW, sufficient to supply 1.8 percent of the world’s total electricity consumption. The top installers of 2016 were China, the United States, and India. There are more than 24 countries around the world with a cumulative PV capacity of more than one gigawatt with Austria, Chile, and South Africa all exceeding that one gigawatt milestone in 2016. The available solar PV capacity in Honduras is now sufficient to supply 12.5% of the nation’s electrical power while Italy, Germany and Greece can produce between 7% and 8% of their respective domestic electricity consumption.

Installed PV Solar Power in 2016
# Nation


Total Capacity
(GW)
Added Capacity
(GW)
Of total
consumption
1 China China 78.07 34.54 1.07%
2 Japan Japan 42.75 8.6 4.9%
3 GermanyGermany 41.22 1.52 6.2%-6.7%
4 United States United States 40.3 14.73 1.4%
5 Italy Italy 19.28 0.37 7.5% (2014)
6 United Kingdom United Kingdom 11.63 1.97 3.4%
7 India India 9.01 3.97
8 France France 7.13 0.56 1.6%
9 AustraliaAustralia 5.9 0.84 2.4% (2015)
10 Spain Spain 5.49 0.06 3.2% (2013)

Wikipedia currently ranks France as 8th in the world (2016) in terms of its total solar capacity, but clearly the French commitment to solar energy evidenced by the EDF Group’s new solar plan will help move France up in the solar rankings.

The French commitment to solar energy is to be applauded – their leadership serves as a model to both developed and developing countries – we all need to follow France’s lead.  Why?  Because our collective future clearly depends on our ability to utilize solar and other renewable sources of energy.  The unlimited potential of solar energy to positively impact our environment, and to bring clean, renewable power to the world’s population makes it critical that all countries embrace this exciting technology.

We need to move forward nationally as well as individually.  To explore solar energy options for your home or business right here at home, contact one of our local solar experts at Venture Home Solar. Call us today at  800-203-4158 to find out more about the unlimited potential of solar energy!  We know the “ins and outs” of our state policies here in New York, including the tax incentives and rebates that can make a solar installation on your home or business even more cost effective. Call Venture Home Solar today (800-203-4158) to get started!  The French commitment to solar energy should be surpassed by our own!