An additional 1,367 MW of solar PV power plants were grid connected in France during the first half of 2021, according to new figures from the French Ministry of Ecological Transition (MTE).
This result represents an acceleration compared to the previous years and represents a new kind of growth that the country has not experienced before. For comparison, the newly installed PV capacity for the first six months of 2020 was 431 MW and in the same period of 2019, 431 MW.
This increase is explained both by an increase in the number of connections and also by a higher proportion of utility-scale PV plants, according to the MTE. Around 66% of the newly connected power, in fact, corresponds to installations bigger than 250 kW, which represent less than 1% of the number of new connections. Smaller-sized installations, below 9 kW, represent almost 83% and around 7% of the new capacity.
Grid-connected solar PV installations by power categories. Graphics: MTE
Between January and June 2021, solar PV generated around 7.6 TWh, compared to around 6.8 TWh for the same period in 2020, due to high levels of solar radiation in March and April. This result represents approximately 3.1% of French electricity consumption, up slightly from 3% a year earlier.
In terms of self-consumption, 22.4% of the PV installations in mainland France, representing 12.8% of installed capacity, have self-consumed a good part of their production. The share of these installations is up 1 percentage point compared to the previous quarter. In the second quarter of 2021, 158 GWh of PV electricity was self-consumed.
Share of self-consumption installations. Graphics: MTE
In geographic terms, the regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie, Grand-Est, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur hosted around 69% of the newly connected power in mainland France in the first half of 2021.