Minister to seek better loan terms for troubled PV sector

The country’s small and medium-scale photovoltaic producers, under financial pressure as a result of major payment delays for their energy output, were promised some relief yesterday in the form of reduced interest rates on outstanding loans and extended pay-back periods, as a universal measure, by Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis, who met with sector representatives.

The minister noted he would meet with banking sector officials and seek revised loan terms for the sector.

Greece’s previous administration had been promised improved terms for the troubled sector by banks, but they did not follow through. Instead, cases were dealt with on an individual basis, with attention paid only to producers on the verge of bankruptcy.

Renewable energy source (RES) producers are owed approximately 400 million euros by LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator, which, in turn is awaiting payment from PPC, the Public Power Corporation, suffering cash-flow problems of its own as a result of an alarming level of unpaid overdue electricity bills by consumers, currently at about two billion euros. There was no further news yesterday on this crucial matter.

However, besides his promise for seeking widespread banking relief for photovoltaic sector investors, Lafazanis also acknowledged the need for tax relief, especially on VAT payments and other surcharges owed to the state as a result of LAGIE’s delay in paying RES producers.

During a period of rapid growth for the sector several years ago, loans extended by banks for installation of photovoltaic systems reached 2.5 billion euros with interest rates of around seven to eight percent, and, in some cases, even higher.