Bulgaria unveils sharp PV cuts

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Reuters has reported that the feed-in tariff (FIT) rates for the obligatory purchase of solar generated electricity have been cut by over 50 percent. The wind sector has also reportedly been hit with cuts of 22 percent. Apparently, many investors have been caught out by the severity of the reductions.

"What we see is not a policy, but improvisation with a final aim to stop the development of wind and solar energy in Bulgaria," Velizar Kiriakov, head of the Association of Producers of Ecological Energy, told the news source.

The changes were said to have come into effect yesterday, July 1. At the same time, Reuters said that consumer electricity prices have been increased by 13 percent.

A surge of renewable energy project activity was said to have taken place in Bulgaria following the announcement of the country’s generous FITs. Earlier last month, Astronergy announced it had completed a 50 MW plant after three months of construction. The insolvent Q.Cells also recently said it had stepped up its activity levels in the country, having secured an order to deliver 16 MW worth of its photovoltaic modules to projects there.

Meanwhile, Premier Power unveiled its 16.2 MW Bulgarian project plans at the start of March, and Phoenix Solar said last October that it had been given the go ahead to install a 50 MW plant in the Kazaniak region.

Furthermore, in 2010, Bulgarian Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov said that construction had begun on a 45 MW solar farm in central Bulgaria. It is not clear if the plant has been completed. Also in 2010, Sunservice Ltd said it installed a two MW plant in the town of Ihtiman. At the time, head of Sunservice, Rumen Christov said that due to the country’s good irradiation conditions and the attractive prices, Bulgarian solar market should see "rapid growth", and install up to four GW by 2020.

However, following the most recent news, many photovoltaic projects have been placed in jeopardy, said Reuters. It added that the country’s energy regulator indicated that Bulgaria is already meeting 12 percent of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources. It is said to be targeting 16 percent of renewables by 2020.

pv magazine could not obtain an immediate response from the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy and Energy. However, a spokesperson said they would review emailed questions. The previous and new FITs are as follows:

Rooftop/BIPV

Ground-mounted

Term (years)

Size

New incentive

(Lev/kWh)

Previous incentive (Lev/kWh)

Size

New incentive

(Lev/kWh)

Previous Incentive (Lev/kWh)

<30 kWp

0.33192

0.60523

<30 kWp

0.26868

0.57650

15

30 – 200 kWp

0.3003

0.59650

30 – 200 kWp

0.26077

0.56741

15

200 kWp – 10 MWp

0.28449

0.58377

200 kWp – 10 MWp

0.23705

0.4856

15

>10 MWp

0.23626