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Newsletter February 2011

TRENDS & TRADEWINDS

The Greek Photovoltaic Market: A Positive Outlook

Stelios Psomas, Policy Advisor at HELAPCO (Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies) discussed incentives in solar.

Which country has the best incentives for the installation of residential photovoltaic (PV) systems? If your answer is Germany, the leading country worldwide in renewable energy, then you are wrong!

Surprisingly enough, the best regime is here in Greece!

Amidst an unprecedented financial crisis, the Greek government has taken bold initiatives for the development of residential solar systems, offering not just generous financial incentives but also simplifying the authorisation procedures as well. Any citizen, who wants to install a solar system with a capacity of up to 10 kilowatts on their roof, can do so easily, simply by visiting the local electricity company office.

A second positive surprise comes from the banking sector. Practically every bank in Greece now offers up to 100% financing for the installation of residential PV systems. No wonder then why thousands of people applied for such systems in the last few months.

The situation was not as easy a few months ago, and it is still not a piece of cake when it comes to bigger commercial PV systems.

The first Greek legislation for PV was introduced in 2006 offering generous feed-in-tariffs (a premium for selling green electricity to the grid) and setting the details for authorisation of PV systems. These authorisation processes were, however, complicated and certain procedures were long-lasting or even unnecessary. As a result, and despite the good financial incentives, the Greek PV market developed very slowly in the last four years, and thousands of applications have piled up, mainly due to the legal-administrative barriers imposed.

The Greek PV sector has been very active in trying to convince the relevant decision makers that a much simpler and effective framework is needed in order to develop a healthy and robust market.

New renewable energy legislation (Law 3851/2010) was passed by the Greek Parliament in mid-2010 bringing important changes in the legal-administrative framework. Furthermore, there were some new Ministerial Decisions which have lifted certain bureaucratic barriers.

As a result of these positive developments, thousands of potential investors have expressed interest in PV. This has led to a grid bottleneck as it is practically impossible to facilitate the connection of all these systems at once. It will therefore take some time before many of these projects can take off.

In 2010, despite the deep financial crisis, the Greek PV market nearly quadrupled compared with last year. New installations reached 150 MWp in 2010 and are expected to be twice as much in 2011.

PV is probably the only sector which shows strong development trends in Greece. This development has created thousand of new jobs. Some 4,250 full time jobs have been created in the last four years in the manufacturing and installation of PV systems. Six manufacturing plants are now operating in the country and hundreds of companies are offering their services in trading, procuring and installing photovoltaics. In the meantime, the Greek government has set a target of 2,200 MWp by 2020, a target which seems rather conservative when considering the current boom.

For more information, visit the website of the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (HELAPCO, www.helapco.gr)