The commission said that the three French initiatives, which include 2600MW of additional solar capacity and 60MW of additional hydropower capacity, comply with the EU state aid rules.

Two of the projects will focus on solar installations with an estimated total provisional budget of €8.8bn ($9.4bn) over 20 years while the third, a hydropower scheme, is estimated to cost €500m over 20 years.

The schemes are expected to help France achieve its 2020 goal to generate 23% of total power from renewable sources.

European Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “These French initiatives will stimulate a greater use of renewable energy sources and provide legal certainty to the sector, while limiting the use of state support to the minimum.

“This is a very important balance for Europe in the pursuit of our environmental objectives.”

One of the two solar schemes involves payment of a feed-in tariff to operators of small-scale solar installations of less than 100KW in size. It will develop around 1,500MW of solar capacity.

The second solar scheme, which involves development of around 1,100MW in additional solar capacity, will support operators of larger solar installations of between 100KW and 250KW and those above 250KW.

Additionally, the hydropower scheme is expected to grant support for up to 60MW of new projects.

Upon assessing three schemes under EU state aid rules, the Commission concluded that the measures will boost the renewable electricity share in France, in compliance with the EU environmental objectives.

Image: France intends to generate 23% of total power from renewable sources by 2020. Photo: courtesy of franky242/