Investment interest in Romanian PV market increases

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Romania is a very promising emerging market for photovoltaic energy investments among SEE countries, according to the Romania Photovoltaic Market Outlook 2012, issued by Inea Consulting Ltd. With the introduction of support mechanisms in the law in 2008, and the subsequent amendments in 2010, 2011 and 2012, the country’s photovoltaic market is expected to take off in the next few years.

To date, Romania has an installed cumulative photovoltaic capacity of just 2 MWp. However, by the end of this year, this could grow to reach 81 MWp, when taking into account the best case scenario of Inea Consulting’s report. Meanwhile, PV market value is expected to increase from €5.2 million in 2011, to around €129.6 million by the end of 2012.

Currently, six green certificates are awarded for each MWh of electricity produced from solar power plants until January 1, 2014. For the period 2008 to 2025, a green certificate may be traded in 2012 for between €27/MWh and €55/MWh. These values are adjusted yearly by energy regulator ANRE according to the average annual inflation index, which is calculated by Eurostat.

Risks

As the Romanian photovoltaic sector is very young, there are a number of risks present. For instance, the current number of green certificates for solar power plants is considered attractive to many investors. As such, the speculative purchase of new generation licenses is a threat and could negatively affect the long-term market players.

Furthermore, missing or unclear parts of the legislation could result in the delay of licensing for projects. And, grid saturation in Dobrogea and other areas, due to the rapid development of the country’s wind industry, could present obstacles for photovoltaic project developers.

Despite this, both the government and Romanian Photovoltaic Industry Association (RPIA) have played a key role in the establishment of a solar market in the country through the organization of meetings with government representatives, developers and investors, for example.

Overall, the forecast for the Romanian photovoltaic market is positive. It is expected that market drivers by the end of 2013 will be large-scale projects above 1 MWp, including rooftop and industrial installations. Meanwhile, in Q4 2012, the first ground mounted photovoltaic power plants above 5 MWp are scheduled to start operation.

Secondary legislation, which will benefit installations below 1 MWp does still not exist, but is under discussion among government institutions. Specifically, the possibility of additional remuneration and higher green certificate prices for residential installations below 30 kWp is being considered.

Renewable energy mix

Romania has a balanced portfolio of energy generation facilities, including nuclear, hydro, coal and gas fired plants. According to studies conducted by the Romanian Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business Environment, it will need an additional 20 GW of capacity by 2035, in order to meet the increasing demand for electricity, to de-carbonize its electricity sector and to replace aging power generation facilities.

Renewable energies are one logical option for this de-carbonization. Remarkable development of the wind sector in Romania in the past two years has proved that this is possible. Now it is solar’s turn.

The primary objective of Romania is to ensure compliance with the mandatory renewable energy targets as laid out under Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The country made crucial steps to reach the 2020 targets set by its government in 2007, and at national level the Romanian energy strategy for the period of 2007-2020, as approved by the Government, establishes the level of national targets concerning the shares of electricity generated from renewable energy sources in the final consumption of electricity renewable energy generation.

Edited by Becky Beetz.

Ilko Iliev is the CEO of Inea Consulting, a renewable energy Advisory firm headquartered in Varna, Bulgaria, and with local points in Austria, Germany, the UK, Italy, France and Dubai.