France has vowed to offer more financial support to small solar power farms (more than 2 billion euros in investments) to save the dying solar industry. In the past two years, 15,000 jobs were lost—there were 32,500 jobs in 2010 and a mere 18,000 in 2012.
“Many jobs were lost because of the (former) government’s yo-yo policies. But we will fight … to develop the ecological competitiveness of France,” Energy Minister Delphine Batho told reporters.
These emergency measures, which are due to take effect when a decree is published later this year, are being sought to support the solar industry until a wider energy law is drawn up after the government’s so-called “energy transition debate“. The government estimated the annual cost at between 90 and 170 million euros, to be levied on consumers through the existing CSPE tax on power bills.
Jean-Louis Bal, the head of France’s main renewable energy sector lobby SER, said the measures would allow the sector to survive in the short term but did not offer long-term visibility for the industry.
“However it’s the first positive message from the government in over three years,” Bal told reporters.