Capital controls flatten net metering-related PV interest

The domestic photovoltaic market has once again fallen into a state of overall stagnancy as a result of the imposition of capital controls a little over a month ago, despite the preceding level of rising PV interest sparked by the introduction of net metering.

Just days before capital controls were imposed in Greece, on June 29, HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator – locally acronymed DEDDIE – had reported that almost 1,000 applications were submitted for installation of photovoltaic systems, while numerous parties also contacted the operator for enquiries.

The net metering plan enables electricity consumers who generate their own power from an eligible on-site facility and deliver it to local distribution facilities to offset the electric energy provided by the utility during an applicable billing period.

As expected, consumer priorities have been reshaped amid the restrictions of capital controls, while PV supply companies are unable to import systems and equipment.

The recent introduction of net metering, months before capital controls, had generated a sturdy interest in self-production, both by businesses and household consumers.

According to market data, the majority of applications to date have been made by enterprises interested in developing PV systems with considerable capacities, ranging from 25 KW to 50 KW. Most professional applications concern businesses consuming large amounts of electricity, such as hotels and bakeries.

For the time being, HEDNO is only accepting applications from consumers being supplied through the low-voltage network. The capacity limit stands at 100 kWp for applicants based on the mainland and interconnected islands, 50 kWp for applicants based on Crete, and 20 kWp for all other non-interconnected islands.

A 20-kWp limit presently applies for the Peloponnese, Evia’s regions south of Aliveri, as well as the nearby islands of Andros and Tinos. Also, PV plans concerning systems that would offer common benefits or promote public sector interests are permitted an elevated 100 kWp limit.

PV sector officials believe the early interest expressed in net metering will eventually be reinstated once market conditions in Greece return to normal, as the option represents a profitable investment. The officials admitted the pre-capital controls interest was well below the levels reached during the PV sector’s period of extraordinary growth prior to the recession. However, the recent rise in activity, right up until the arrival of capital controls, does offer better prospects for the PV sector and its active professionals, such as suppliers and installers.