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France Stupidly blames Cheap Chinese Panels for Stopping Solar Energy Subsidies leading First Solar to Delay French Factory

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France recently halted its solar subsidy program for 3 months for solar installations under 3 kw as it was deluged with a large number of applications.Solar Feed in Tariffs are quite generous for certain type of solar panel installations like BIPV and greenhouses.This combined with rapidly falling solar panel prices primarily due to low cost Chinese manufacturing has made the business extremely lucrative.Note France is not the first country to see a massive flood of solar applications.Spain,Czech,Germany,Australia have faced problems with solar feed in tariff programs mainly because of poor design by slow moving bureaucrats.However most of these countries have never blamed cheap Chinese panel imports for their badly designed programs.Germany which is the undisputed solar market leader did for a while raise the Chinese bogey but it was for a short while.Anyone with a little understanding of the solar industry would know that almost 50% of the value is created in installation which is all done locally.Also most of the polysilicon raw material is made in the West as also most of the equipment used in producing panels in China.

A recent report by SEIA says that USA 71% of the solar industry value is domestically created and its exports are more than imports.Still USA is investigating a report by US Steelworker Union on Chinese subsidies for its Green Industry.France does not have much of a solar manufacturing sector so the solar energy industry will have to import panels from other countries in the EU instead of China.This won’t benefit the French industry which does not have a presence in either the solar or wind industry.All it has done is to put a freeze on Solar Thin Film Leader First Solar plans to establish a Cd-Te factory in France in partnership with EDF.

France Calls for Curbing Chinese Solar-Panel Imports

France’s decision to suspend most solar-energy projects for three months was done partly to curb cheaper imports of Chinese solar panels, Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said today on France Info radio.

“Ninety percent of the solar panels installed in France come from China and our import criteria must be strengthened,” Kosciusko-Morizet said. “We are not here to subsidize the Chinese economy but to create green jobs in France.”

EDF EN delays solar plant on French law changes

French policy changes for the solar power industry have forced EDF Energies Nouvelles to delay the construction of the country’s largest solar panel plant, the renewable energy arm of EDF said on Friday.

Work at the 90-million euro ($119.8 million) plant was initially expected to start in January 2011 but EDF EN said regulatory changes meant it and U.S. venture partner First Solar now had no firm idea on the project’s profitability.

The French government said earlier this month it sought to end what it called a “speculative bubble” by cutting the number of new projects and the price at which EDF buys the electricity from solar power producers — marking the government’s third move in 12 months to regulate the budding industry.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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  1. Cleantuesday

    There are also Cleantech supporters in France

    For its first event in 2011 Cleantuesday will turn to the subject certainly the richest of Cleantech, industrial eco-efficiency or “resource efficiency “, or how to reduce or substitute well beyond mere energy efficiency, all our material consumption materials and resources in the industry.

    New materials, new manufacturing processes, a theme very rich

    With several start ups and leading international and french:

    * French start-up French Bio 3D
    * French start-up Blu-e
    * French start up Dexera
    * others speakers

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011, from 18.30 at the Cantine, 151 rue Montmartre, 75002 Paris (live streaming at 7 pm GMT+1 on