Emerging markets in Europe’s south and east

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Presentations on day one of the conference, organized by Solarpraxis, covered the ex-Yugoslav states, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia. Dag Kralj from the Bisol Group told conference attendees that while Slovenia remains the best managed and therefore the market with the greatest potential at this stage.

Kralj explained that since FITs were introduced in 2009, total installed photovoltaic capacity now approaches 100 megawatts (MW) in the country. Half of this capacity was installed in 2011. This figure, the Bisol executive pointed out with some pride, is more per capita than Greece or Austria.

The FITs in Solvenia, Kralj continued have been reduced a number of times since they were first introduced – on a biannual basis. The reductions have been orderly and therefore high levels of uncertainty do not plague the market, added Kralj.

Grid connection of photovoltaic power plants is also guaranteed in Slovenia, however Kralj warned that it may take three to six months, therefore placing a strain on financing.

Other former Yugoslav states have good irradiance and potential, the presentation continued, however uncertain government finances and impenetrable layers of bureaucracy has hamstrung development.

Bulgaria is second to Slovenia in terms of potential in south eastern Europe, explained the Sofia Energy Center’s Evelina Stoykova. While only 28 MW of photovoltaic capacity has been added to the country’s grid since FITs began in 2007, “it is still quite profitable to invest in PV power plants in Bulgaria,” said Stoykova.

A major limiting factor in Bulgaria remains electricity grid readiness and Stoykova explained that each year the government indicated how much photovoltaic capacity can be installed, without overloading the grid. This is announced each year on June 10, and because what the ceiling will be in unknown before that date, it is difficult for developers to plan.