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French combined wind, solar power output up 32% in March

London β€” * March solar output 23% higher on year, wind up 35%
* Installed solar capacity up 16% on year, wind up 11.5%
* Combined renewables capacity up 2 GW on year

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An increase in installed renewables capacity saw output from wind and solar farms increase in March this year by 32% compared with the same period last year, according to the latest figures from French grid operator RTE.

Solar output was up 23% on year at 661 GWh, after installed capacity increased by 16% since March 2015 to 6.31 GW.

Meanwhile, wind output was up by 35% at 2.42 GWh, with wind capacity having also increased on year by 11.5% to 10.405 GW.

Article Continues below...

Together, wind and solar made up circa 6% of the total power generation mix, while fossil-fuel generation accounted for just over 8% of the mix.

A 300 MW solar power generation park, Cestas, in the Bordeaux region in France, the largest in Europe, entered full service in November last year.

The Cestas plant holds a 20-year power offtake agreement with EDF at a price of Eur105/MWh ($130/MWh) under France's regulated feed-in tariff mechanism.

The cost of solar production has fallen sharply in recent years on cheaper component costs, and this price is lower than the 35-year contract price of GBP92.50/MWh (Eur117.0/MWh) agreed on by the UK government for EDF's planned 3.2 GW Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.

RTE's report showed that more wind capacity is currently under construction or "in the pipeline" than solar capacity.

Three onshore wind projects totaling 128 MW are being constructed and 3.26 GW worth of offshore wind projects are "pending". Meanwhile, only 105 MW worth of solar projects are waiting to move into construction phase, with 19 MW in the process of being brought online.

--Ana-Maria Tolbaru,
--Edited by James Leech,