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Why the French are falling for solar panels

© Unsplash/Mischa Franck

Whether the motivation is financial or ecological (or both), solar panels are regaining their former aura. Pushed for years by the government with significant tax credits, they had disappeared from circulation. But in 2024, while the increase in electricity affects the budget of the French, solar panels will start to flourish again on our roofs.

The meteoric rise of solar self-consumption

The trend towards solar self-consumption is growing exponentially in France. Marianne Laigneau, president of the management board of Enedis, highlights to Les Echos the explosion of this phenomenon: of 3,000 sites in 2015, France has today 440,000 self-consumption sites. This boom is mainly attributable to the continued rise in electricity prices, which encourages households to to seek more economical and ecological alternatives for their energy consumption.

These installations, capable of producing around 2.3 GW, illustrate the growing interest of the French in renewable energies, although this capacity is only exploited to the extent of 15 to 20% in due to the intermittent nature of solar.

The motivations behind this craze are multiple. In addition to economic considerations, the war in Ukraine also played a role in raising awareness of the vulnerability of energy supplies. This quest for autonomy is accompanied by an interest in green technologies, marking a significant step in the country's energy transition.

Especially in wealthy households

Despite this growing popularity, the cost of installation remains a major obstacle for many households .The necessary investments range between 8,000 and 12,000 euros, a substantial sum which still slows down the massive adoption of this technology. However, the evolution of energy prices has reduced the depreciation period of these installations, going from fifteen to ten years, making the investment more attractive in the long term. term.

Market players are trying to expand their customer base by offering innovative financial models, such as leasing. This approach, inspired by the automotive sector, aims to make solar panels more accessible to young households and first-time buyers, who could thus benefit from significant energy savings without increasing their budget.< /p>

Despite these efforts, the adoption of solar panels in France remains modest compared to other European countries.The penetration rate oscillates between 3 and 4%, far behind the 30% observed in the Netherlands or the 15% in Germany. This difference underlines the importance of continuing to promote solar self-consumption and facilitating access to these technologies to achieve the desired energy transition.

< p>The benefits of solar self-consumption are not negligible. On average, equipped households can expect a reduction of 30 to 35% on their annual energy bill. But these savings largely depend on sunshine and the ability of households to adapt their consumption habits to maximize the use of the solar energy produced.

Solar kits, new el dorado ?

To counter this barrier to initial investment, certain companies have specialized in small kit installations available on the internet or in large DIY stores.

Beem or the French company Avidsen offer products of this type with the promise of energy savings. The principle of these panels is relatively simple: you place them in the garden or attach them to an exterior wall. To recover energy, two solutions: use a portable battery to store electricity or connect the panels to your electrical installation.

These small panels, sold for a few hundred euros, represent a lower investment and can be modulated to adjust electricity production. You can connect as many panels as you want to meet your needs. Some consumers only use them to recharge their electric vehicles or power a garden shed, for example.

  • The solar panel market is recovering in France
  • These installations remain reserved for a wealthy public, the cost of the initial installation remaining very high
  • More affordable alternatives such as solar panel kits allow you to take a first step towards self-consumption of electricity

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116