France to champion domestic solar industry and embrace agrivoltaics

France’s photovoltaic industry is on the verge of a major boom following the announcement of a new master plan to boost domestic solar energy production. 

In early April, France’s Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, Bruno Le Maire, and the Minister Delegate in charge of Industry and Energy, Roland Lescure (pictured above), unveiled their plans to increase solar panel installations and capitalise on the possibilities of agrivoltaics in shoring up both food and energy security. 

Solar power, they say, is one of the leading ways in which France will be able to produce carbon-free energy and achieve green industrial sovereignty.  

As of the end of 2023, mainland France generated just over 19 gigawatts of energy using solar technology, while increased public funding for the sector has allowed the nation to expand its photovoltaic capacities by an additional 1.3 gigawatts since the start of 2024.

The goal of the new plan is to go a step further and up the ante by channeling millions of euros of investment into this clean and green energy source. 

By the end of the year, France should be producing an extra six gigawatts of solar-sourced power thanks to numerous new installations across the country.  

The State is also embracing the concept of agrivoltaics: the dual use of land for solar energy production and agriculture. 

Described by the ministers are both “responsible and virtuous”, this part of the plan will seek to better understand and manage sites where solar panels can be installed, such as on farmland and in forested areas.

“In a world where electricity has become the major economic issue, we need photovoltaics,” said Le Maire from a new solar development site in Manosque in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department.  

Echoing the convictions of his colleague, Lescure added, “We are announcing a solar pact between the State and industrial players to support a French photovoltaic industry. The state will be exemplary in public procurement. I call on all buyers to order French and commit to the pact!” 

To explore the new plans in full, click here


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Photo source: Roland Lescure, X