However, in the same year, less than 5 percent of French households owned photovoltaic panels. Based on recent figures, more than half of the French would be interested: firstly in the energy autonomy brought by photovoltaic panels, and secondly in selling their production surplus.
Despite slow beginnings, this industry is expanding. The sector counted more than 7,000 direct jobs and generated a turnover of nearly five billion euros in France in 2017.
In that year, more than nine terawatt-hours of photovoltaic solar electricity were produced in France. In 2019, about one third of the French production was generated in the New-Aquitaine region.
In 2019, three quarters of the French trusted in photovoltaic panels. Increased sales of photovoltaic installations reflect this confidence, particularly in the small segment market (0 to 3 kilowatts) specific to the residential sector and adapted for self-consumption.
The residential photovoltaic production capacity quadrupled between the last quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2019. The French government has stimulated self-consumption thanks to bonuses for households, depending on the amount of energy produced. The government even buys production surplus from households on self-consumption.
Photovoltaic electricity remains an intermittent type of energy, its production depending on geographical or climatic factors. It is no coincidence that the share of photovoltaic electricity in gross electricity consumption fluctuates according to seasons. In fact, consumption peaks most often occur between the second and third quarters of the year, while the lowest values correspond to winter and less sunshine.
The emergence of energy storage techniques may provide answers to some of the problems posed by intermittent energy.