Greece's Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) has announced it will commence accepting applications for PV net metering systems to connect directly to the medium voltage electricity network on Friday October 30.
The first stage of net metering applications began in May, when HEDNO started accepting applications for PV systems to connect to the low voltage grid. Both rounds of applications follow the guidelines of Greece's net metering law legislated in December 2014.
Financial woes delay Greece's net metering
Given Greece's financial woes, the emerging question is whether its net metering scheme can bear a meaningful number of new PV installations.
According to information provided by the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (HELAPCO), the first round of net metering applications earlier this year attracted about 1,000 applications, mainly for commercial and business net metering PV systems, the majority of which have a capacity of between 25 kW to 50 kW.
The first Greek net metering system was connected to the grid in September and is a 85 kW rooftop PV at a factory in the city of Volos.
Because the second round of applications will be for PV systems that will connect directly to the medium voltage network, it is now possible to attract applications designed for larger systems that are aimed at satisfying the increased power needs of such customers.
Net metering in Greece today is a stronger incentive for the installation of solar PV than FITs, said Stelios Psomas, policy advisor at HELAPCO. Residential FITs are €0.115/kWh, while according to HELAPCO's calculations, net metering offers around €0.13/kWh of savings. In the commercial segment, Psomas added, today's FITs are between €0.063-0.069/kWh, while net metering saves businesses approximately €0.09-0.12/kWh.
Therefore, neither the policy nor the electricity prices are an obstacle for Greece's net metering scheme to flourish. The main problem is Greece's dire economic situation, especially the capital control restrictions imposed on all bank transactions since July, which restrict businesses and offer great uncertainty to investors.
“In 2016, net metering will add only a few megawatts. However, we forecast net metering installations to increase once the economy improves,” Psomas told pv magazine.
A crowdfunding campaign by Greenpeace Greece to solarize the country reached $42,248, which Greenpeace said translates to “seven or eight” rooftop PV projects of 2 kW each. The installations will be donated to low income families living on the island of Rhodes. Interested families need to contact Greenpeace Greece by 31st October, with more than 120 families already having done so.
The November issue of pv magazine features an analysis of South Europe's net metering landscape, detailing the net metering and self consumption schemes of Portugal, Spain, France, Malta, Italy, Greece, and Cyprus.
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