Guadeloupe enjoys a high number of days of sunshine, with approximately 1,400 hours of sunshine annually—a huge asset in terms of solar energy production. Strong support from local government in the form of generous subsidies (financed by European Union programs and fixed metering rates) served to boost the solar photovoltaic sector from 2006 onwards. Firms in Guadeloupe seized this opportunity and entered a market that had become highly attractive.
Growth in the solar photovoltaic sector therefore met the regional government’s important strategic goals for Guadeloupe, which included:
- Development of renewable resources contributing to energy independence in Guadeloupe
- Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
Nevertheless, the solar photovoltaic sector faces several challenges:
- Given ongoing changes in climate, production levels are uncertain. This issue poses a real threat to the stability of small grids, such as the grid in Guadeloupe, where peak power production is 260 MW.
- The level of variable renewable energy injected into the grid has already reached maximum level in Guadeloupe, representing the most serious challenge to further development of the solar photovoltaic sector. Indeed, in order to grow, the solar photovoltaic sector is now turning towards innovative technologies that can accommodate the variability of solar energy. It is in the pursuit of these goals that new management systems and storage techniques that encourage self-consumption (especially smart grids) are being developed.
- The difficulties in connecting to the current grid is a major obstacle to the development of new projects. The problem of integrating power from renewable energy sources while ensuring stability in the network is addressed in the regional plan for connecting renewable energy, which is currently being drafted.
Developments in the solar photovoltaic sector during the past few years highlight the major role played by the reassessed metering rates in 2006. Whereas solar photovoltaic installations were previously located in isolated areas, this policy spurred the growth in the energy market of installations connected to the grid.
The rapid growth in the solar photovoltaic sector and sudden expansion in the number of projects in development in 2006 came to a sudden halt following national policy to lower metering rates. Previous to this policy, projects enjoyed highly attractive financial incentives, but future growth in the solar photovoltaic sector is now in doubt.
Current figures for solar photovoltaic production are available in the Key Figures tab (available in French only).
DID YOU KNOW?
Solar photovoltaic power is referred to as a variable renewable energy (VRE), similar to wind power. These sources are variable compared with renewable energy sources that provide fixed power, such as geothermal generation.