Ambassador Richier at Chennai’s Solar Energy seminar

Visit of the French Ambassador to Chennai for a seminar on “Solar Energy: Potential, Means, Technology” with a delegation of French companies, 20 September 2013

H.E. Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, is visiting Chennai today on 20th September 2013 with a ten-member delegation of French companies from the solar energy sector. They are participating in a daylong seminar entitled, “Solar Energy: potential, means, technology” in the presence of Thiru Rajesh Lakhoni, Secretary, Energy Department of Government of Tamil Nadu, as well as representatives of the State Electricity Board, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA).

The visit of the delegation follows the idea discussed between Selvi J. Jayalalithaa, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, and Ambassador Richier when they met on 12th June 2013 and spoke of energy issues and, in particular, the potential of solar energy.

On this occasion, a presentation of French expertise in this sector is being organised. Similar to India, France is interested in exploring the potential of renewable energy to replace fossil fuel-generating capabilities, as part of the energy transition process announced by the French authorities.

During this seminar, Ambassador Richier is accompanied by the India Office head of the French Development Agency (AFD), as well as the managing directors of top French companies in the energy sector: Areva Renewable, Fonroche, Sunpower India/Total, and Solaire Direct. French energy technology is competitively priced and highly developed.

Representatives of other major French companies are also attending the seminar, French economic presence in Tamil Nadu being strong, with Michelin, Renault and Saint-Gobain, to name but a few, having opened huge manufacturing plants and R&D centres in Tamil Nadu over the last few years. This accounts for a considerable level of investments made by French companies in India (18 billion USD of French investments/stock in India).


In the solar energy sector, several French firms are already active in India (Areva Renewable, Total, Alstom Power, Solaire Direct, Fonroche) or are seriously prospecting in the Indian market (Solareo, Soitec).

Areva Solar was selected by Reliance Power Limited for building a concentrated solar power (CSP) installation of 250 MW, the largest in Asia. The commercial operation of the first phase is scheduled in 2013.

Solaire Direct and Fonroche were selected as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission for 5 MW and 20 MW solar photovoltaic projects respectively, which will soon be operational.

Total, through its SunPower subsidiary, has built a solar photovoltaic power plant of 5 MW for its client, Mahindra EPC.

Alstom Power is engaged in four solar power plants of 25 MW for supplying steam turbines.

Solaire Direct, which had recently set up a pilot project for the Ministry of Renewable Energy in Rajasthan, won a competitive worldwide tender as the lowest bidder.

Last modified on 27/09/2013

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