Greece’s energy regulator RAE announced the number of applications it received by June 5, when the deadline for submitting an application to participate in July’s solar PV and wind tenders expired.
Specifically, said RAE, there were 177 applications for solar PV projects whose capacities range between 500 KW and 1 MW; and 34 applications for photovoltaics farms larger than 1 MW and up to 20 MW each.
Applications in the first category total 105.95 MW of capacity, while the capacity for projects applying in the second category total 197.21 MW.
Tenders in July to award about 160 MW of PV capacity
This is critical information because according to the tender rules, July’s auctions will tender 300 MW of new solar PV capacity as long as the auctions are adequately subscribed. An adequate level of participation, RAE has ruled out, equals at least 75% of capacity participating in the tender on top of the capacity being awarded.
Based on the number of applications RAE received, this means that should the regulator qualify all entries, the tenders in July will award a maximum of 45.5 MW under the first category of projects, and 112.7 MW under the second category.
Very importantly though, RAE notes, it remains committed to tendering 300 MW of solar PV capacity in 2018 as initially planned.
So, following July’s tender, RAE says the remaining photovoltaic capacity for the year 2018 will be auctioned towards the end of the year. RAE will publish the details for this new tender by the end of September at the latest.
The second auction to take place by the end of 2018 will offer the same two project categories as the tender in July 2018.
Competitiveness comes first
According to pv magazine information, there was a frantic activity among investors in Greece in the last two months to gather the necessary licenses that allow their projects to enter the tender.
A grid connection agreement or an offer by Greece’s distribution grid electricity operator to connect a candidate PV project to the grid are essential, for example.
A report published by Greece’s electricity market operator (Lagie) in April said that there is a plethora of such projects (about 3.5 GW licensed projects specifically). However, Stelios Psomas, policy advisor at the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (Helapco) told pv magazine that in most cases these old licenses have expired because investors didn’t pay the fee to keep their licenses active.
Psomas had argued bidders should have been offered more time to prepare their applications and gather the necessary licenses that qualify them to enter the tender in July.
Furthermore, Psomas noted that the pilot auction in December 2015 only required 40% of capacity participating in the tender on top of the capacity being awarded.
But Greece’s RAE, pushed most possibly by the country’s European lenders, aims the higher level of competition in the forthcoming tenders.
And nobody can blame it. After approving irrational feed-in tariffs in the previous years that led the country’s PV sector to a stall, it is time Greece to think and act competitively. The PV sector awaits eagerly the tariffs that will result from July’s PV auction.