Romania halves certificates for solar PV starting January 2014

In a recent announcement, the Romanian government has moved to reduce support for solar PV, wind and hydro energies by cutting the number of green certificates per generated MW.

The new measure, starting on 1st January 2014, will affect only projects finished after January 2014.

Of the three renewable types of technology, solar PV is facing the sharpest reduction. Thus, solar PV projects completed after 1st January will only receive three green certificates per MW, compared with six they receive now.

Romania applies a quota system for supporting renewable energies according to which project developers receive green certificates for each megawatt generated for a period of 15 years after commissioning. Power suppliers and large industrial users are forced to buy the certificates based on an annual quota set by the energy regulator. Therefore, project developers gain firstly by selling certificates and again when they sell their electricity.

However, in a recent study, the National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) argued that renewable power producers receive far too many certificates for the energy they generate compared to the investments they make in power plants. Thus, it advised the Romanian government to reduce the number of green certificates per quota.

In doing so, the Romanian government insisted that its efforts are an attempt to minimize the effects of electricity price spikes for industry and households.

The new subsidy cuts, starting tomorrow, follows a green certificate suspension approved in June according to which the government suspends two out of six green certificates awarded to PV energy producers per MWh fed into the grid. Tomorrow’s policy does not, however, concern these projects.

Nevertheless, many critics argue that the Romanian government’s latest policy measure is an attempt to reduce the investment flow into solar PV and other renewable technologies, which have by far exceeded the initial national targets set by the energy regulator according to the country’s EU commitments.