Financial boost for homeowners selling solar power in France

Now may be the time to invest in solar panels in France, as changes to installation grants and prices paid for surplus power benefit homeowners

Solar power installation grant changes in France has made producing your own solar power has more attractive
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Producing your own solar power has become more attractive due to changes to installation grants in France.

The reform of the prime à l’autoconsommation photovoltaïque, a grant for installing solar panels for personal use and selling the surplus power, will benefit those who are ready to take the leap.

Previously paid out over a period of five years, the grant is now paid in a lump sum at the same time as owners request their first payment for producing electricity.

Read more: Eight questions about installing solar panels on homes in France

In most cases, invoices are annual, starting on the first anniversary of the signing of the contract.

The grant is currently worth €500 per kWc (kilowatt- crête) for installations of up to 3kWc, or €370/kWc up to 9kWc.

These amounts are updated quarterly – in the past year they have risen from €380 and €290, respectively.

The rates are due to change once again in May. For up to 36kWc, the grant is €210 per kWc, and up to 100kWc, it is €110.

However, if the power is greater than 9kWc, only 80% of the grant will be paid on the first anniversary of the contract, then 5% each year over the next four years.

The most common category for homes is 3KWc or less, which equates to around 10 panels installed on a roof.

Only available for photovoltaic panels

The grant is only available for the installation of photovoltaic panels, not solar thermal panels.

The installation must be done by a professional with the RGE environmental certification.

There has also been an increase to the prices paid by EDF when homeowners sell solar power back to the grid.

This was previously fixed at 10 cents per kWh for selling surplus electricity, but a recent change means the price is now updated every three months.

The price has now risen to 13.13 cents.

You can choose to sell all of the electricity you produce, in which case the price is higher – 23.49 cents for less than 3kWc, or 19.96 cents for up to 9kWc.

If you do not use any of the power yourself, you will not qualify for the installation grant, however.

The grant is available for second homes, but for properties which are often vacant, selling all the electricity you produce is likely to be a better investment.

Geographical differences in costs and benefits

Consumer organisation UFC-Que Choisir has simulated the costs and benefits of installing solar panels in five cities across France using the latest rates.

“The new tariffs make solar power particularly profitable in the long term, regardless of the region, but even more so in the south,” it concluded.

With installation costing €9,700 for 3kWc on a south-facing roof, and 30% consumed for personal use, the association found the panels would bring in €16,694 over 20 years in Montpellier, resulting in €6,994 profit.

The equivalent in Valence would produce €5,593 profit, €4,292 in Lyon, €3,198 in Rennes, and €2,176 in Lille.

The revenue used for the calculations includes electricity saved thanks to consuming what you produce, selling the surplus, and the installation grant.

UFC-Que Choisir notes that, despite rising energy prices, “it is more profitable to sell all the electricity you produce, even if the gap is closing,” due to the more attractive price.

Except, that is, in the north, “where solar production is relatively weak”.

Small photovoltaic installations (up to 3kWc) benefit from a low rate of 10% VAT.

For the same size installations, any income from selling solar power is not taxable.

For more information go to or visit to contact an advisor.

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