PV association offers proposals in effort to reignite stagnant sector

HELAPCO, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, locally acronymed SEF, has forwarded a letter to the newly appointed Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister, Panos Skourletis, containing a list of proposals intended to reignite activity in the local photovoltaic market.

The association’s list of proposals include establishing a tariff for systems of up to 500 KW and premiums for systems with capacities of over one MW.

In its letter, HEPALCO noted its proposals would ensure direct and swift growth for the sector, which would create thousands of jobs without any burden on the country’s fiscal matters or consumers, while also promoting environmental interests.

At present, the photovoltaic market is confronted by detrimental effects caused by the imposition of capital controls as well as considerably low tariffs offered for photovoltaic energy production, which cannot guarantee the sustainability of sector investments, the association noted.

Last year proved to be an extremely disappointing year for the photovoltaic sector. Virtually no new PV systems were installed. The total amount of installment activity represented just 1.5 percent of installations made in 2013, while thousands of jobs were shed. New policy efforts aiming to rectify previous institutional shortcomings ended up proving disastrous for the sector, the association noted in its letter.

Even so, PV systems managed to cover 7 percent of the country’s electricity needs in 2014, the highest level of all renewable energy source (RES) options. This percentage can be attributed to the considerable PV growth experienced in previous years, HEPALCO noted.

Also, PV systems helped reduce the wholesale price of electricity by an average of 3.38 euros per MWh in 2013 and 2014, according to studies conducted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the association added.

Greece’s PV sector enjoyed an incredibly robust three-year period of growth before falling into deep crisis in 2013 and 2014, raising the need for urgent measures to revitalize the sector.