April 12, 2019 / 5:57 PM / 5 months ago

Sunny spell boosts French solar generation to record level

PARIS, April 12 (Reuters) - Sunny weather boosted solar power generation in nuclear-dependent France to a record level on Friday, covering 10.7 percent of its 59.5 gigawatt (GW) electricity consumption at 1145 GMT, French power grid operator RTE said.

The record output of 6.3 GW was due to a sunny spell and an increase in France’s installed solar power capacity, which rose 12.7 percent in 2018 to 8.5 GW compared with the previous year, RTE said.

The power systems operator said the load factor, which is the ratio of electricity generated to installed capacity, reached 74.7 percent. The average solar load factor in 2018 was 14 percent.

The output placed solar power generation second behind France’s main source of electricity, nuclear generation from 58 reactors operated by state-controlled utility EDF, which accounts for around 75 percent of the country’s electricity needs.

France aims to rapidly develop renewable wind, solar and biomass capacity to curb its dependence on atomic power, reducing its share in its power mix to 50 percent by 2035, from 75 percent today. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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