Greece adds 148 MW while preparing for drastic new FIT cuts

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Greece electrified 29 MW of ground-mounted photovoltaic projects and 5 MW of rooftop installations in June, according to a report published by Greek electricity market operator LAGIE on Friday.

With respect to the autonomous electricity grids of the Greek islands, developers also completed a small number of new ground-mounted photovoltaic installations in June, although official figures have not yet been published. The country’s cumulative capacity in the end of June amounted to 2.485 GW.

Greece had added 66 MW and 48 MW of new PV capacity in April and May, respectively, bringing the total solar PV installed in Greece in the second quarter of 2013 to 148 MW.

The figure is in sharp contrast with the 801 MW of new solar PV Greece had installed in the first quarter of 2013. However, the decline was expected due to lower tariffs as well as other measures that discouraged investors.

New FITs cuts planned: towards a ‘new deal’

Meanwhile, in addition to the recent drastic feed-in tariff (FIT) cuts imposed on new photovoltaic installations, the Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA) now wants to cut tariffs for existing photovoltaic systems. YPEKA presented its plan at a meeting with representatives of the renewable power industry in Athens on Tuesday.

According to Greek press reports, YPEKA asked the solar industry to accept FIT cuts regarding operating photovoltaic projects up to 45%, and representatives of other renewable power sectors to accept tariff cuts for existing projects up to 10%. The level of the suggested tariff cuts will not apply to all operating PV projects horizontally, but will rather take into account specific projects’ details such as the initial tariff it was assigned, its building cost, time of development and loan conditions.

YPEKA is initially trying to persuade renewable power producers to voluntarily accept the FITs cuts. In exchange, YPEKA is offering to work on their behalf and pressure banks to extend the duration of loans and reduce interest rates, as well as asking LAGIE to lengthen the initial power purchase contracts signed.

Described by Greek media as a “new deal,” the attempted voluntary character of the new FIT cuts will affect about 6,000 to 7,000 photovoltaic power producers. Voluntary or not, YPEKA is widely expected to push through the new FIT cuts, by alternative methods if necessary, regardless of how developers respond.

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