Romania’s PV capacity grew by 70 MW in 2016

Romania saw a slight increase in new PV capacity last year, with the installation of PV systems with a combined capacity of 70.4 MW. According to official figures released by the country’s grid operator Transelectrica, which were provided to pv magazine by the Romanian Photovoltaic Industry Association (RPIA), last year’s performance was slightly down compared to 2015, when newly installed PV capacity hit 78.2 MW.

The country’s cumulative PV power, RPIA said, has reached 1.37 GW at the end of 2016, while the cumulative renewable energy generation capacity has surpassed 4.5 GW. Most of the solar power installed in the country is represented by MW-sized PV plants built under the green certificate scheme, which was launched in 2011.

Under the current legislation, green certificates are granted only to those operators that connected their PV projects not later than Jan. 31, 2016. A PV power producer is entitled to receive green certificates over a 15-year period. A green certificate is valid for 12 months and can be traded on a regulated market called OPCOM for a price of a minimum €28.8 ($30.4) to a maximum of €58.8 Euro ($62.0). These values are subject to indexation on a yearly basis, taking into account the euro zone inflation rate.

RPIA claims that the negative trend registered in 2016 will likely continue in the near future. In particular, the association explained that a reduction to the mandatory quota of electricity produced from renewable energy sources benefiting from the green certificate scheme for 2017, which was recently approved by the Romania government, could prove a serious problem for the solar sector. The new quota was set at 8.3% of the total consumption of electricity. In 2016, the quota was of 12.1%.

The government decision was based on the advice of Romania’s energy regulator Romanian Regulatory Authority for Energy, which claimed that maintaining the 2016 quota this year would have increased electricity bills by approximately 5%. In 2008, when the government issued the legislation for renewable energies the quota had been set at 17%.

This decision, however, will be effective only until the new government approves the draft emergency ordinance amending the country’s renewable law. The European Commission has already approved it.