PV license fever in Greece continues

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Greek energy regulator RAE says there have been 215 applications in just three months to install renewable energy generation facilities with a total 2.5 GW of capacity in the country. Of those, 126 applications were for solar projects with 2,196 MW of PV generation capacity.

Those figures come on top of more than 6 GW of electricity generation license applications received by the regulator up to March, as reported by pv magazine.

The frantic activity is mainly being driven by Greece’s renewable energy plan, which seeks to tender new PV and wind power capacity.

Following a small PV pilot tender in 2016, the nation has held four solar and wind procurement rounds in 12 months – starting last July and continuing in December, April and this month – with around 700 MW of solar generation capacity allocated.

Such progress impressed the European Union’s Court of Auditors, which recently cited the tenders as a good model to follow, although the organization added, Greece “still faces the challenge of attracting enough investors to participate in its auctions”.

That concern reflected the fact all four tenders allocated less capacity than intended and a shortage of project licenses was the main reason. Projects aiming to participate in the tenders must hold an electricity generation license and an agreement to connect to the grid. The fact so few project developers are in possession of the requisite paperwork explains the flurry of license applications the RAE is now dealing with, although some of the requests received relate to installations with a generation capacity of less than 500 kW or to community projects, both of which proceed outside the tender system.

Greece held a snap election on July 7 which returned a government with a clear majority for the first time in years. While the renewable energy tender scheme is not expected to change, the new government has stated an intent to reduce corporate taxation and work to improve the business environment.

Business rates stand at 28% and new prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that figure will gradually reduce to 20% from September.

Value Added Tax – which applies on all imports – will also reduce, from 24% to 22%, next year.