“Save the French solar industry!” Article by our ESMC board member Lucas Weiss, Voltec Solar (English translation)

Read Voltec Solar’s article translated in English:

While the EPP (the new energy roadmap) sets the goal of increasing solar energy production from 10GW to 44.5GW by 2028, it is estimated that today 80% of the solar panels installed in France are manufactured in China. There is currently a real paradox in wanting to deploy a very low-cost renewable energy policy while advocating for (re)industrialization in France. This antagonistic stance must be put to an end by definitively reconciling RE and French industry, ecology and social issues.

Having entered into resistance and united around the same desire to move the lines, we, the players in the French solar industry – panel manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, etc. – have decided to take a stand. – do not want to sit back and watch our commitments to the ecological transition, to our energy independence and to our jobs in the regions die. That is why we are formulating concrete proposals with a single voice and calling on all political decision-makers to take them on board. It is a question of survival!

#1 Create a carbon eco-participation. A tax system applied only to solar panels, it would make it possible to take into account all the environmental impacts of products and to promote environmental excellence. This carbon eco-participation would have a positive impact on the entire value chain (R&D, components, recycling, etc.). And it would have a neutral effect on the development of PV if it were redistributed through photovoltaic feed-in tariffs (see proposal #2).

#2 Implement a bonus that favors responsible companies and customers. We propose to implement a bonus of 10% of the photovoltaic electricity feed-in tariff for carbon values below 350 kg CO2/kWp (DHW calculation). This bonus would be a positive incentive to choose the most virtuous manufacturers. It could be partly financed by the carbon eco-participation (see proposal #1).

#3 Condition the obtaining of the self-consumption bonus to an ambitious carbon balance. We propose that any panel installed for self-consumption must have an Ecopassport PEP value of less than 1,000 kg of CO2/kWp to be eligible for the self-consumption bonus in order to encourage the deployment of locally produced modules.

#4 Maintain the carbon rating in calls for tenders. Replacing the carbon score with the surface efficiency criterion currently being considered would give additional strength to foreign players. We therefore plead for a pure and simple maintenance of the carbon note in the new public calls for tenders, or even a strengthening of it.

#5 Conditioning public funding on local content. We propose to impose on banks and public financers to obtain a guarantee of local content in return for the financing granted to the sponsors of a solar power plant project. The percentage of local content must be aligned with the available capacities in France in order to promote the consolidation of the sector as a whole and could be reviewed every two years.

#6 Make the RE2020 a booster of the energy transition. We propose to integrate a minimum self-production level of 50% into the requirements of the RE2020 – taking into account for the calculation of consumption, in addition to basic uses (heating system, domestic hot water, ventilation, lighting), all other movable uses (household appliances, TV, IT, etc.) which are now becoming predominant. At a time when many countries are moving towards positive energy housing and the Citizen’s Climate Convention is encouraging the development of residential solar energy, France must include this ambition in the RE2020.

Elected officials, politicians, decision-makers, dare to go solar and hear our message. Make these measures sustainable so that stability will allow the rebirth of a French solar industry. For the ecological transition. For energy independence. For employment in our territories.

Signatories: Pierre Cantrelle (CEO of Voltec Solar), Véronique Charrier (CEO of Semco-Smatech), Eric Goubier (Technical product manager of Recom Silla), François Guérin (CEO of Cetih), Hamlet Tuyan (CEO of Recom Silla), Lucas Weiss (CEO of Voltec Solar), Yvan Trouillot (CEO of ECM Greentech), Jean-Philippe Leray (CEO of Dome Solar).

Read Voltec Solar’s article in French : https://www.usinenouvelle.com/article/avis-d-expert-sauver-la-filiere-solaire-francaise.N1016274