PV sector places hopes on new RES model for reinvigoration

Local authorities charged with the responsibility of proposing a new support model for the country’s renewable energy sources (RES) sector are awaiting the results of this Sunday’s elections and the new leadership at the Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Ministry, as key decisions will need to be made at a political level before being shaped in technical and legislative terms.

Photovoltaic sector officials believe that the new RES model, which will need to be finalized by the end of this year, will reinvigorate the market. Indicative of the overall anticipation, LAGIE, the Electricity Market Operator responsible for wholesale activity, has factored in considerable PV-related impetus into its RES special account forecasts for 2016 and 2017.

The new RES model’s details will essentially determine payment methods and levels for all RES producers supplying electricity to the grid.

Officials preparing the RES support model face the challenge of providing improved tariffs for PV production that will serve to remove the sector from the doldrums and draw investments. At the same time, these officials will need to avoid creating new RES special account deficits, and, by extension, not be forced to increase emission reduction tariffs (ETMEAR) paid by energy-intensive industries to support the RES sector.

Whatever the case, solutions are urgently needed to get the sector moving again. It remains to be seen whether the existing plan proposed to reach RES objectives set for 2020 will be maintained. Revisions could increase the proportion of PV capacity permitted in the overall RES sector.

Judging by the ongoing developments, the new model is expected to adopt a course based on EU guidelines set in June, 2014, according to which PV facilities with capacities of up to 500 KW may operate based on feed-in tariff systems, while those over 500 KW will need to incorporate feed-in premiums.

Greece’s latest bailout agreement obligates the country to prepare a new RES model by the end of this year and implement it at the beginning of 2016. Greece was given a slight extension on a previous deadline, which had been set for last July.