Greece adds 793 MW of PV in Q1 [Updated]23. April 2013 | Applications & Installations, Markets & Trends, Global PV markets | By: Ilias Tsagas
Greece added 793 MW of photovoltaics in the first quarter of 2013, according to national electricity market operator (LAGIE). In March alone, 259 MW of new capacity was installed. Meanwhile, a new renewable energy systems (RES) bill has been introduced.
The Mediterranean country installed 247 MW of ground-mounted photovoltaic projects and 12 MW of rooftop installations in March, said LAGIE. The country’s cumulative capacity amounts to 2.2 GW.
With respect to the autonomous electricity grids of the Greek islands, a small number of new photovoltaic installations were completed in the first quarter, but official figures have not been published yet.
New RES bill
Meanwhile, the Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA) has brought a new renewable energy systems (RES) bill to public consultation. The bill refers specifically to photovoltaics.
The high number of new installations, however, came hand in hand with a rise in the deficit of LAGIE's Renewable Energy Sources (RES) fund, used to pay renewable energy producers in Greece. According to data published at the beginning of April, the deficit at the end of February was €301.7 million (US$393 million).
YPEKA has been long seeking ways to reduce LAGIE's deficit, hence last week's move to bring a new RES bill into public consultation. The consultation period lasted only four days though, ending on Friday. The draft bill specifically targets the solar sector.
The short consultation period shows the Greek government is in rather a hurry to bring the bill to Parliament. YPEKA recently told pv magazine the bill might be brought to parliament by the end of this month.
The consultation document introduced, among other changes, an amendment of the Greek law which requires FIT changes to be passed via parliament. Under the new bill, a minister can approve any FIT changes.
One of the most significant measures proposed in the new bill is to change the special retroactive photovoltaic levy which was introduced in November 2012.
It states that the current range set at 25-30% of the producers' annual turnover would increase to up to 40% of the park owners' annual turnover. The 40% levy refers specifically to the photovoltaic parks that had received an old FIT (before 31 January 2012) and which were built after the introduction of the levy in November of 2012.
Both the old and the draft bill exclude residential rooftop projects from the levy. However, the Greek press reported on April 22 that ministerial sources say, the levy will also apply to residential installations.
As reported in February, the new bill introduces a measure by which investors applying for photovoltaic licenses will have to provide financial guarantees for their projects. The measure is valid only for PV parks up to 1 MW, but the draft bill applies it to all projects sizes. This has reportedly been proposed after the ministry noticed many projects have been granted space in the power grid, which later cannot be implemented, due to financial constraints.
Finally, the consultation paper suggests no more connection requests be accepted this year. This measure includes licensed projects that have not made a connection request yet. The measure excludes rooftop applications.
For more detailed information on the Greek photovoltaic market, please read the May issue of pv magazine, out on May3.
Edited by Vera von Kreutzbruck and Max Hall
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