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Dissemination activities in France

The UnivERsol project had a very positive effect on the PV market in France. First, thanks to the support of the DG TREN of the European Commission, building owners could benefit from a subsidy of 35% of the system price which made possible either the installation of very well integrated PV systems or large PV systems.

The "Energy House" of the City of Chambéry in the Alps, which hosts ASDER, a very dynamic association for the promotion of renewable, and the Gresivaudan High School situated in Meylan next to Grenoble also in the Alps are both Building Integrated Photovoltaic Show Cases for France.

The construction of such integrated PV systems shows the weakness of the young French PV Industry when it deals with building integration and the experienced building industry but also makes it possible for PV installers to improve themselves and to learn from such experiences.

Also, larger systems such as the 100kWp PV system of the City of Chambéry, which is the largest PV system in operation in France, were possible thanks to the UnivERsol project. This PV system is particularly interesting as it is larger than 36kW, which is the power limit to benefit from the simplified procedure for grid connection. Both procedures to connect PV systems to the grid, the simplified one and the standard one, are much too much complicated for PV owners and need to be drastically simplified in order to mainstream PV in France.

Dissemination toward teachers and students has been taken as a very important part of the UnivERsol project in France. For instance, a brochure to promote the project, a specific web site in French and a tool to evaluate irradiation according to orientation and tilt angle called an "Irradiation Disk" were designed for this project in order to give satisfaction to the high level of interest for that technology within the education sector.

As there is still a lack of information available in French on this topic which allows "PV detractors" to disseminate wrong information on PV such as the fact that PV systems can not recover during their lifetime the amount of energy that was necessary to manufacture them or that PV module production generates more pollution than any other power sources, it has been decided to benefit from the UNIVERSOL project to organise a conference targeted to teachers and directors of schools/universities.

This conference was organised in October 2004 at the Gresivaudan High school in Grenoble by students themselves in order to let teachers explain to other teachers how to organise a demand side management campaign in educational buildings, how to make pupils and students work on renewable and finally why and how to install a PV system on the roof of educational buildings. This conference, known as the closing conference of the UnivERsol project in France, was a real success.

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