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Solar tender for French nuclear site as government mulls regulatory change

“The launch of this tender is the sign of the commitment of the government [to] the conversion of the territory of Fessenheim, with the communities. It will develop local electricity production from renewable energies and launch the photovoltaic industry in Haut-Rhin.”

That announcement, relating to a tender for deployment of 300 MW of solar at the soon to-be-decommissioned nuclear power plant of Fessenheim approved by the European Commission, was made by France’s minister for the ecological and inclusive transition, François de Rugy.

De Rugy said the tender will assign 200 MW of ground-mounted large-scale PV projects, 75 MW of large rooftop solar and 25 MW of small rooftops. “An environmental bonus will be awarded to ground-based power plants that will be established on degraded land,” he added.

The procurement will be held in three rounds. “The tender represents a commitment by the government of €250 million for the benefit of the territory over a period of 20 years,” a statement from the French government said.

No limits?

The press office of the ecological ministry told pv magazine the tender documents have not been published yet. “They will be published on the website of the Commission for Energy Regulation in the next few days,” a spokesperson said.

In July, France’s Directorate General for Energy and Climate – part of the ecological ministry – released details of the bidding terms by revealing ground-mounted projects may have a capacity of 500 kW-30 MW, and large-scale rooftop projects should be larger than 8 MW.

The 30 MW limit for ground-mounted projects is due to regulation that does not permit larger plants on degraded land. At a recent conference in Dunkirk, however, De Rugy announced the limit may be raised.

“This is good news as we consider that utility scale projects can benefit, to the decrease of PV electricity price,” Xavier Daval, VP of French renewable energy association SER and CEO of KiloWattsol SAS told pv magazine. “We can only approve the removal of another limitation applied to renewable energies. As [a] solar association, we are ready to take part [in] the necessary discussion on the possibility of having no limit or a further limit. We also need to understand how this new segment will exist within ongoing tenders, as the change of scale could introduce a competition bias and absorb all the capacity within a few projects.”

Source: pv magazine