Bulgaria launches household solar rebate scheme


The Bulgarian Ministry of Energy has launched a solar rebate scheme to the tune of BGN 240 million to help households reduce their carbon footprint and put downward pressure on their electricity bills.

The ministry said on Tuesday that homeowners can now apply for financing of solar water heating systems, as well as rooftop PV systems of up to 10 kWp, which may be paired with battery energy storage systems. Applications will be accepted until Nov. 10.

Following the final approval from the European Commission, a total of BGN 140 million will be distributed from Bulgaria’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan, with the remaining sum coming from additional state and private sector funding. As much as BGN 80 million will be distributed in the first funding round.

Under the long-awaited financing scheme, the cost of solar water heating systems can be financed in full but up to a maximum of BGN 1,961. The PV systems no larger than 10 kWp will be financed up to 70% with the maximum sum of BGN 15,000. In order to receive funding, households must be the applicant‘s permanent place of residence and use an inefficient heating source, such as wood or coal-burning stoves, boilers, or a fireplaces.

According to SolarPower Europe (SPE), Bulgaria reached 1.5 GW of cumulative installed PV capacity at the end of 2022.

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“Bulgaria’s solar target remains low as PV will only account for 2.6% of electricity in 2040,” SPE said in its 2022-26 EU solar market outlook. “Yet Bulgaria benefits from high irradiation rates, notably in the south of the country, and has an important solar potential, which is not reflected in the current target.”

In 2020, SPE forecast Bulgaria to hit 3.8 GW by 2024, thereby exceeding its 2030 target. The momentum was expected to be mainly supported by unsubsidized large-scale solar projects built under power purchase agreements (PPA).

However, in October 2022, Bulgaria‘s electricity system operator revealed that it had accepted applications to build new renewable energy projects with an aggregate installed capacity of more than 24 GW – double the country's installed generating capacity. It said the new projects require a significant expansion of the grid and that it was talking to potential investors about the necessary actions.

Bulgaria's power generation fleet is dominated by lignite and hard coal-fired power stations, which account for 4.5 GW. Non-hydropower renewables make up around 2.3 GW, hydro 3.2 GW, nuclear 2 GW, and natural gas 600 MW.

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