Greece: New bill aims to cut PV red tape

Greece’s Ministry of Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks (MINDEV) introduced the bill, "Creating a friendly environment for the strategic and private investments," to parliament at the end of February. It is expected to come into force by this April.

The main goal is to reduce red tape and increase flexibility among the Greek public institutions and agencies dealing with fast track projects. For this reason, it proposes the establishment of a General Licensing Directory, which will serve as a one-stop shop for strategic investors looking to license their projects.

Furthermore, the bill proposes changes to the legislative framework, in order to allow more projects to be granted fast track status. In January, the government announced that five photovoltaic projects worth 724.162 MW had been granted fast track status.

Photovoltaic benefits

Particularly for photovoltaics, the new bill provides investors who either own or build projects the opportunity to apply for a project extension. It also removes an old condition that required developers to apply for permission to change photovoltaic equipment. Thus, if the bill is passed, they will be free to alter the investment plan and change equipment, as long as the project’s new total installed power does not exceed 10% of the initial capacity.

MINDEV claims this change will specifically alleviate pressure for a team established by the ministry last September, which was tasked with processing small photovoltaic project applications. The team is currently dealing with 1,624 applications, worth €665 million.

Finally, the new bill simplifies licensing for photovoltaic parks up to 100 KW.

Financial constraints

Notis Mitarakis, MINDEV’s Deputy Minister, told delegates at the Athens Energy Forum, organized by the International Herald Tribune and Kathimerini newspapers last week, that through the new bill, the Greek Government will "transform Greece from a ‘red tape’ country that poses bureaucratic obstacles to investment in a ‘red carpet’ country – a safe haven investment."

Despite the Greek politicians’ aspirations, many challenges remain. Indeed, while the new investment bill for the strategic and private investments might reduce the red tape for both fast track and smaller photovoltaic projects, it doesn’t provide solutions to the financial restraints plaguing the photovoltaic sector.

Consequently, it t is difficult to see how the Greek photovoltaic market can be significantly affected from the new investment bill alone.

Edited by Becky Beetz.