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From a promise to a problem: The political economy of solar photovoltaics in France

Abstract : In France as in many European countries, grid-connected photovoltaics (PV) took off between 2008 and 2010, driven by an overly attractive feed-in tariff scheme that failed to take into account the rapid evolutions of PV technologies and markets. This unexpected expansion of a policy-dependent market led to a moratorium on feed-in tariffs followed by a consultation with stakeholders in 2010-2011. This article analyses the build-up, explosion and resolution of this crisis by focusing on the market and political effects of feed-in tariffs in the years 2008 to 2011. The consultation is analysed as an attempt at the political organisation and representation of the emerging PV sector. The paper shows that it failed to constitute a reliable representation of it, and that the government addressed the difficulty to control the sector by closing down both the market and the political space. It concludes that the good functioning of feed-in tariffs requires work of market organisation as much as of political construction, since their regulation relies on market data and on political compromises.
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Béatrice Cointe. From a promise to a problem: The political economy of solar photovoltaics in France. Energy Research & Social Science, Elsevier, 2015, 8, pp.151-161. ⟨10.1016/j.erss.2015.05.009⟩. ⟨hal-01187847⟩



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