Hungary supports net metering PV projects up to 50 kW with 0% loans

The Hungarian government has launched a 5-year subsidized loan program for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The program, which opened in late April and will be run by the Hungarian Development Bank (MFB), also includes the possibility of securing 0% interest rate loans for PV projects up to 50 kW developed under Hungary’s net metering scheme.

Overall, the program has a budget of approximately €350 million. The MFB will not allocate funds depending on each technology, with projects selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Loans will be granted to residential customers such as family houses, apartments, or blocks of flats.

Despite the conspicuous budget, the local solar association Manap told pv magazine it is difficult to predict now how much solar will be installed in Hungary thanks to this program.

“The Hungarian market is rather used to non-refundable support schemes,” said Manap’s president Szolnoki Balázs Ádám, “and as subsidized loan programs have not been available for the public before we may see a quite slow pickup of interest. PV is only one of the many different types of projects that are supported by the same scheme and it is hard to estimate which project types will attract more people, it is possible that the budget will be very fragmented at the end. The program can give a solid background to the spreading of residential PV installations, but not a huge growth. It is a five-year program and because of these uncertainties we may be able to judge the relevance of it regarding PV around year end.”

In Hungary, net metering is responsible for most of the country’s installed PV capacity, which was 168.7 MW as of the end of 2015, according to the latest official statistics available. The government, however, is also supporting PV through a FIT scheme that is expected to bring more online capacity over the next two years.

According to estimates by László Szabo, a senior researcher at the Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research (REKK, Hungary), the country installed approximately 100 MW of new PV capacity in 2016, and there are approximately 2 GW of projects approved under the FIT scheme, which could potentially see the light by the end of 2017. Although the FIT program was officially closed in mid-2016, approved projects will be granted a FIT if grid-connection is achieved by the end of 2017.