Greece’s PV restart: Hellenic Petroleum secures financing for at least 8.6 MW

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced yesterday that it has subscribed to €28.3 million in bonds issued by Hellenic Petroleum. “The total volume of the bond issuance was €450 million in two tranches, with the EBRD subscribing to the second tranche of €74.5 million alongside the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank and other selected institutional investors,” said the EBRD.

In more detail, Hellenic Petroleum also said yesterday, that the company “has successfully priced €74.5m principal amount of new notes to be consolidated and form a single series” with existing company notes due by October 2021. The new notes resulted “in proceeds of €79m and a yield of 3.333% and are expected to be listed on the Luxemburg Stock Exchange,” added Hellenic Petroleum. In other words, Hellenic Petroleum’s issuance was not addressed to Greece, but instead targeted at international investors.

For the EBRD, this is the first investment stemming from its €300 million framework dedicated specifically to renewable energy in Greece, announced earlier this year.

For Hellenic Petroleum, this is part of its strategy to diversify business activity, which focuses mainly on the supply, refining and trading of petroleum products in Greece and abroad, as well as in oil and gas exploration and production.

In 2006, Hellenic Petroleum founded Hellenic Petroleum Renewable Energy Sources, a 100% owned subsidiary, but has failed since then to invest in a meaningful capacity of renewable energy. The company has built 1.4 MW of photovoltaics and 7 MW of wind power capacity only.

But in December, Hellenic Petroleum was awarded a combined 8.6 MW of photovoltaic capacity in Greece’s inaugural renewable energy tender. This will be split among three PV plants of 3.6 MW, 4 MW and 1 MW capacity respectively. The tender followed Greece’s new renewable energy law, introduced in 2016 and tendered projects are fully licensed and ready to start construction.

Furthermore, Hellenic Petroleum says the company has more PV plants in preparation on top of the 8.6 MW won in December, and that a great chunk of the new €450 million funds will be invested in renewable energy projects.

Hellenic Petroleum’s strategic move towards renewable energy investment comes after Greece’s electricity utility PPC is also trying to develop a portfolio of new PV plants up to 550 MW.

According to Greece’s electricity market operator LAGIE, Greece has installed 2230 MW of utility-scale PV and 374.4 MW of rooftop PV. However, there is at least another 5.8 MW of net-metering photovoltaic installations in Greece, not included in LAGIE’s statistics. Greece’s best years of newly added solar PV installations were 2012 and 2013, however from 2014 onwards the country’s PV sector stalled.