Solar power in France had been growing rapidly with more than 4,000 GWh of generated photovoltaic (PV) electricity every year. In 2013, an additional 613 MW of PV capacity was installed. This is 45 percent less than in the previous year, when 1,115 MW were installed. By the end of 2013, the cumulative photovoltaic capacity reached almost 4.7 GW. This makes France the seventh biggest producer of PV electricity in the world, behind Germany, China, Italy, Japan, the United States and Spain.
However, a declining political support for new installations slowed down PV deployment since the record year of 2011, when 1,700 MW had been installed. In its 2014 report "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics", the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) not only blames the French government for a lack of support, but also criticizes it for having "hastily freeze or reduce support mechanisms" for further photovoltaic deployment. The EPIA also asserts, that opposition from the conventional energy sector led to a negative image of PV technology in the public opinion. The French solar association SOLER urged the French government for more support and submitted a five-point plan in Spring 2014.
The insolation in France ranges from 3 sun hours/day in the north to 5 sun hours/day in the south. The output of a solar array is a function of age, temperature, tilt, shading, tracking, and insolation.