First Solar wins 48MW France order

First Solar has won a new customer in France, with the developer Photosol tapping the thin-film giant to supply 48MW for four utility-scale arrays under construction across central and southern France.

The projects represent a breakthrough in scale terms for Paris-based Photosol, which claims to have developed 63MW in France since it was established five years ago – with a 250MW pipeline waiting in the wings.

The arrays are being built in the Auvergne and Midi-Pyrénées regions, with three of them set in pastureland and the other on the edge of a forest. Photosol’s local partner Jayme da Costa Energie is handling EPC work.

Photosol managing director David Guinard says the company tapped First Solar for the first time on the basis of its modules’ “unrivalled bankability” and “cost-competitiveness”.

France has the fifth largest installed PV base in the European Union, and the country is seen as holding vast potential for further uptake, with its efficient grids network, stable base of nuclear generation, and strong sunshine.

However, France has been consistently disappointing to the PV industry in recent years – including domestic players – and has failed to live up to the optimism the government sparked earlier this year when it launched a “reinvention” of the sector.

France installed just 207MW of PV during the first half of the year, according to official figures, against the government’s 1GW annual target.