EU PVSEC: Details emerge for proposed 10 GW "Project Helios"

05. September 2011 | Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Markets & Trends, Top News, 26th EU PVSEC | By:  Jonathan Gifford

With plenty of sun and not much liquidity, Greece has been forced to be creative as to how to get its economy going and create jobs. One plan to do so has become clear at the European photovoltaic conference in Hamburg today, in the form of "Project Helios".

A Conergy photovoltaic plant in Greece.

Conergy is one of the German companies active in Greece. Can the government attract more with the vast Project Helios? Image: Conergy.

In a project of a truly ambitious and vast scale, Energy Minister George Papaconstantinou has proposed Greece could house 10 gigawatts (GW) of installed photovoltaics and export much of the energy produced into Europe. To pursue the ambitious goal, the country would need to attract around 20 billion euros of investment.

The timeframe for this level of installation, set out by Papconstaninou at the opening address and opening press conference at EU PVSEC today, would see 2.2 GW installed by 2020 with this expanding to the 10 GW by 2050.

Reuters has reported that Papaconstantinou said, while announcing the proposal, "Greece enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, almost 50 percent more sun radiation than Germany, the global leader in solar photovoltaics." It has been proposed that the government could make land available to solar developers.

It has previously been reported that the proposed project was discussed between Greek and German officials last month. The photovoltaic industry reacted cautiously to the reports with the Head of Conergy Greece Dieter Schmitt telling pv magazine, "we hear a lot but we need to see whether it is really going to happen."

As to the idea that Greece could be an exporter of photovoltaic electricity Schmitt was more positive. "Certainly Greece can be an exporter of energy. The energy should become quite cheap compared to conventional energy so it should be a very good point for the future." He added that much is needed by way of grid capacity for this to occur.

pv magazine will run a report on the Greek photovoltaic market in its October edition.

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