New round of solar plus storage for French island territories

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France’s island territories are to get a further 47 solar PV plus storage projects in the latest tender round.

The tender, the third part of the latest annual round launched in 2016, has awarded a total capacity of 57MW at an average price of €98.6/MWh.

This is in addition to 38 solar PV plus storage projects with a capacity of 54.8MW and 37 PV projects without storage with a capacity of 44.1MW awarded in April 2020 in the first two parts of the same 2019 auction.

The respective average prices for the earlier period awards were €108.2/MWh and €96.2/MWh.

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The tender also included a self-consumption component, with 2.8MW of solar PV awarded in the first period and just 250kW in the second period.

The French island territories include Corsica, Guadeloupe, La Réunion, Martinique and Mayotte as well as Guyana, none of which are obviously connected to the French grid.

Like other islands in the Caribbean and elsewhere, these territories have been reliant on costly imported diesel and other fuels. Solar with the addition of storage offers a cost effective alternative to move to a high penetration renewables system.

The latest prices compare with the average €204/MWh of the 2016 auction awards and reflect the falling costs of both the solar PV and storage.

The projects under award are mostly less than 1MW (but above the minimum 100kW). The largest in the latest part is the 5MW Piton Soley project in La Réunion followed by the 4.82MW Petite Place and 4.77MW Pointe des Basses Energies projects in Guadeloupe.

The associated storage capacity per 1kW of solar PV is required to be a minimum 0.5kW/0.5kWh.

The 2019 tender round was aimed to achieve a capacity of up to 310MW of solar PV, half with storage and half without, and 28MW of self-generation. The latter parts of the award have been delayed due to measures taken in response to the Covid virus. The awards of the next two parts, based on the earlier timescales, are likely to be announced towards the end of Q1 of 2021.