Romania installs 363 MW of PV in 2014

Romania installed 363.181 MW of new solar PV in 2014, Transelectrica, the country’s transmission company and electricity system operator, has told pv magazine.

Wind power systems, Transelectrica said, added 346.16 MW of new capacity in 2014.

Cumulative capacities for solar PV and wind technologies stand now at 1222.819 MW and 2952.854 MW respectively.

Newly added solar PV installations in 2014 are considerably smaller than the 834 MW of new PV capacity installed in 2013. Still, Romania remains a focus for European investors.

Policy change slows PV installations

Commenting on Romania’s PV progress, Ciprian Glodeanu, Romania¬ís Photovoltaic Industry Association (RPIA) president, told pv magazine that "the changes in the remuneration policies for renewable energy systems at the beginning of 2014 significantly slowed down the development of PV projects. If at the end of 2013, the Romanian Energy Regulatory Body expected another 1 GW of PV energy to be commissioned in 2014, actually less than 100 MW were installed in 2014 according to the data provided on the website of the Romanian transmission system operator Transelectrica."

Romania’s renewable energy remuneration policy applies a quota system whereby project developers receive green certificates for each megawatt generated for a period of 15 years. Power suppliers and large industrial users must buy the certificates based on an annual quota set by the National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE). Therefore, project developers gain by selling certificates and again when they sell electricity.

In January 2014, the Romanian government decided to reduce support for PV, wind and hydro energies by cutting the number of green certificates per generated megawatt. Of the three renewable technologies, PV projects took the biggest hit with a reduction from six to three certificates per megawatt.

Speaking to pv magazine in July 2013, Transelectrica CEO Stefan-Doru Bucataru revealed that 2.7 GW and about 1.9 GW of new PV projects had been granted technical connection approvals and connection contracts, respectively. "As per investors’ data provided in 2013, about 2.7 GW will be put into operation," Bucataru said. It is now evident that of the 2.7 GW figure only about 1 GW has been installed.

Market sources have told pv magazine that the biggest problem for solar developers following the change in the number of green certificates has been securing project financing. Banks are not willing to provide project financing like they were before the policy change, they added.