Greece’s 2023 PV additions hit 1.59 GW

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Greece’s public administration does not have an institution that publishes regular energy statistics for all technologies and supporting schemes. Different institutions therefore often publish reports covering different segments of the market, generating confusion about the nation's installed power capacity.

Dapeep, which is Greece’s renewable energy sources operator, is such an example. Dapeep said that Greece installed 1.183 MW of new PV capacity in 2023, dominated by ground-mounted systems. However, its reports do not include capacity installed via the net metering scheme and the energy community programs.

The Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (Helapco) published a separate report in February claiming that Greece installed a total of 1,574.7 MW of new photovoltaic capacity in 2023.

This week, Helapco told pv magazine that it has updated its records to include a 16 MW net metering PV system installed last year at Athens International Airport. The 16 MW solar park is the largest PV project under net metering for self-consumption purposes in the country.

Helapco told pv magazine that Greece installed 1,591 MW of new solar capacity last year, bringing the nation's photovoltaic fleet to 7105 MW. This is Greece’s largest addition of solar capacity in a single year. In 2022, the country had deployed 1.36 GW of new PV capacity.

The new capacity includes systems supported by premium tariffs awarded via competitive tenders, small systems up to 500 kW each remunerated by feed-in tariffs, net metering systems, energy community projects, and PV projects that participate directly in the electricity market without subsidy support.

Helapco has told pv magazine that Greece has not yet installed any solar projects that operate via merchant power purchase agreements (PPAs). Dapeep’s report said that in the end of 2023 there was 183.7 MW of PV capacity participating directly to the electricity market. Helapco Policy Officer Stelios Psomas said that this is not capacity operating under PPAs and claimed that Dapeep has not published a list detailing these projects.

Net metering

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Helapco noted the importance of the net metering market. According to its report, Greece added 257.1 MW of net metered systems last year, marking the largest spike in net metering installations since the scheme was launched a decade ago. Most of the new systems were arrays larger than 1 MW. At the end of last year, Greece was operating 472.9 MW of net-metered PV capacity.

A segment of the net-metering market specifically relates to Greece’s €200 million ($215.3 million) subsidy program for small solar-plus-storage systems in the residential and agricultural sectors, launched in March 2023. This segment of net metering added 1,795 such systems, or 11,89 MW (12,66 MWh) of capacity last year.

Psomas said that the €200 million program faced some issues in the first months of its rollout. For instance, there was a lack of flexibility among the program's administrators, leading to many projects needing to resubmit their applications. Delays in subsidy payments made some consumers reluctant to adopt the scheme. However, various policy changes have addressed these issues, and half of the program's budget has already been utilized.

“Experience shows that new schemes need one to two years to find their pace,” Psomas said. “We [Helapco] expect about 60 MW of new PV capacity, corresponding to about 9.000 new solar plus systems, to be installed in the following months.”

A separate report from The Green Tank, an Athens-based policy group, said that by the end of 2023 there were 14 MW of PV capacity owned by energy communities and operating via net metering. Based on the number of applications submitted in 2023, this segment of the market is also expected to grow substantially in 2024, according to The Green Tank.

Helapco’s figures show that Greece’s solar fleet covered 18.4% of the country’s electricity demand in 2023. Helapco claimed that this is Europe’s highest penetration of solar in a country’s electricity mix by far.

The Greek transmission system operator has also said that Greece’s renewable energy systems, including large hydro plants, covered 57% of the country’s electricity needs last year, up from 50.12% the year before.

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