Originally published 13 December, 2010

Decree No. 2010-1510 of 9 December 2010 suspending the purchase of electricity produced by installations using solar rays (the "Decree")

Despite the opposition to the proposed French Government's plans to impose a three (3) month1 moratorium on new solar projects that qualify for current power purchase feed in tariff, the Decree was voted in on Thursday 9 and published last Friday.

The Decree will allow the Government to prepare a new legal framework that will become applicable at the end of the 3 month moratorium and would solve the problem of the queue. The new legal framework aims to reach a target of 500 MWp of new solar projects per year and will most probably include a decrease of the feed in tariffs. Further official information on this legal framework is not yet available.

Under the Decree, any pending or new applications for power purchase agreements for electricity produced by solar projects shall be suspended for a period of three (3) months from 10 December 2010 and no new requests shall be considered during this period of suspension (article 1 of the Decree).

Exceptions to the moratorium

The suspension does not apply to solar installations with a scheduled installed solar power production capacity which is less than or equal to 3kW (article 2 of the Decree).

The suspension also does not apply to installations for which the producer has already notified the grid operator, namely ERDF, of its acceptance of the technical and financial proposition ("proposition technique et financière", "PTF") before 2 December 2010. In this case, the relevant installation must be put into operation2 within eighteen (18) months from this date of notification of acceptance of the PTF (article 3 of the Decree).

Where this notification of acceptance of the PTF was issued more than nine (9) months before the entry into force of the Decree, namely in March 2010, the exemption of the moratorium will only apply to installations which will be put into operation within nine (9) months following the date of entry into force of the Decree3 (paragraph 1, article 4 of the Decree).

Extension of the above time periods can be granted when putting into operation of the installation is delayed because of the works necessary for the connection to the grid, so long as the installation is completed within the time limits as specified in article 4 of the Decree. However, in all cases the installation must be put into operation by no later than two (2) months after the end of the works related to the connection. The date of putting into operation of the installation shall therefore, be the same as the date of the activation of the grid connection (second paragraph, article 4 of the Decree).

At the end of the three (3) month moratorium, new applications will have to be made even for suspended applications. Therefore, applicants will have to start the whole process de novo (article 5 of the Decree).


1 Last week, the initial project specified a four (4) month moratorium.

2 Under the last paragraph of article 4 of the Decree, the date of putting into operation (mise en service) is the date of the activation of the connection to the grid (mise en service de son raccordement au réseau).

3 Please note that the drafting of the Decree is not very clear: it is still unclear whether it is nine (9) months from the date of the notification of the acceptance of the PTF or from the date of entry into force of the Decree, namely, 10 December 2010.

For further information or advice, please contact:

Michelle Thomas, Partner
Head of clean energy and sustainability
Tel: 0845 498 7553

Boris Martor
Avocat Associé / Partner
Tel: +33 1 55 73 41 53

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.