CARBON signs the “Solar Pact”

CARBON signs the “Solar Pact”

On Friday, April 5, 2024, CARBON and 28 other companies in the sector – renewable energy developers and major buyers – signed the “Solar Pact” unveiled by Bruno Le Maire and Roland Lescure, the junior minister in charge of Industry and Energy, in Manosque. On this occasion, the Minister of Economy, Finance, and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty launched a “battle plan” to support the projects of French photovoltaic giga-factories and to build a local and sustainable solar industrial sector.


Producing 40% of photovoltaic panels in France by 2030

All reindustrialization scenarios target a need for 100GW of installed photovoltaic capacity in France by 2035. This is a significant challenge, given that the current capacity does not reach 20GW. This situation highlights the urgency to accelerate the development of solar energy in French territory. But, with which panels?

During his speech in front of industry stakeholders, Bruno Le Maire did not hesitate to challenge the audience: “Buying the equivalent of 100GW of solar panels represents €20 billion in investments. Do we want this money to end up in the pockets of our foreign partners?” For the head of Bercy, as for CARBON, the answer is clear: these €20 billion should be used to open factories and create local jobs. In this context, the Minister presented his “battle plan” to produce 40% of the photovoltaic panels used in France by 2030.


A pact for “a sovereign, decarbonized, reindustrialized France”

Considering that “we will never be truly sovereign in energy if we are not in industry,” Bruno Le Maire and Roland Lescure urged “major contractors, energy companies, or solar farm developers” to commit to the “Solar Pact” and thus prioritize the use of French panels. The goal is twofold:

  • Fill the order books and provide visibility to photovoltaic giga-factory projects like CARBON’s;
  • Build a solid French and European industrial sector.

To this end, the State commits to massively support the development of solar energy in France with a target of 6GW per year of installed capacity, as part of the next multiannual energy programming (PPE). On its part, the photovoltaic sector commits to buying a minimum of panels produced in France or within the European Union.


Creating an “Induscore” to buy locally

Specifically, developers and buyers signing the “Solar Pact” commit to purchasing at least 30% of photovoltaic panels partly produced in Europe from 2025 onwards. These will be identified by an “InduScore,” similar to the “Nutriscore” in the food industry, distinguishing the panels in four categories:

  • InduScore A if 4 industrial steps have been completed in the European Economic Area (EEA);
  • InduScore B if 3 industrial steps have been completed in the EEA;
  • InduScore C if 2 industrial steps have been completed in the EEA;
  • InduScore D if 1 industrial step has been completed in the EEA;
  • InduScore E, if no steps are completed in the EEA.

This new tool should be implemented within two months.


The State’s commitment to supporting the competitiveness of French panels

The government has already announced a series of measures to ensure fair competition between solar panels made in France and those made abroad. Starting this summer, the carbon criterion will be strengthened in calls for tenders concerning buildings to promote “responsible and sovereign” purchases. From 2025, new criteria for durability and resilience will be introduced, in accordance with the European Regulation for a “net zero emission” industry. A low carbon bonus will also be introduced to encourage developers and buyers to equip themselves with French panels. It will help offset the additional acquisition costs caused by the relocation of production.


A crucial step towards the relocalization of the solar value chain in Europe

CARBON welcomes these significant advancements, marking a turning point in the redeployment of a local, sovereign, and competitive photovoltaic industry. It’s a strong political commitment in favor of ambitious, essential, and strategic projects like the one we support. With the upcoming signing on Monday, April 15, of the European Solar Charter, a whole dynamic is at work to relocalize the solar value chain in Europe!