Net metering upper limit set to be increased to 3 MW

A net metering capacity upper limit of 1 MW will be increased to 3 MW through a ministerial decision expected to be delivered this week.

In addition, through this same decision, a number of revisions will be made to simplify net metering procedures, especially for projects with capacities below 50 KW.

The net-metering capacity increase will enable energy cost reductions for many enterprises, PV company officials have noted.

Logistics centers, airports, hotels, supermarkets and small-scale industries all stand to benefit as such enterprises typically possess abundant spare space that could be utilized for solar energy system installations. They consume considerable amounts of electricity that could be offset through net metering.

The PV company officials informed that many customers who had installed net-metering facilities for up to 1 MW are already expressing interest to invest in capacity boosts, highlighting the market need being satisfied by the upcoming related ministerial decision.

 

PPC to offer energy efficiency services following rival moves

The board at power utility PPC, which has lined up a shareholders’ meeting for June 4, will propose company statute revisions including one to facilitate the company’s entry into energy efficiency services, following dynamic moves into this sector by rival suppliers.

The board will propose to shareholders a corporate statute addition concerning the purpose of its operation and activity, covering: “Trade, supply, sale, various related products and equipment, as well as the provision of products and services for the design, implementation, installation, management and financing of energy production, heating, cooling and energy efficiency systems in buildings and facilities “.

According to sources, PPC has already begun planning its move into energy efficiency services, through which consumers will be able to install roof-mounted solar panels at homes combined with net metering. PPC also plans to provide specialized, digital solutions for enterprises and facilities to limit their energy consumption levels.

In other company developments, PPC has decided to maintain two board posts, on its eleven-member board, for worker representatives.

Net metering framework to be revised, EC wants tougher rules

The implementation of a new EU directive for the RES sector promises to bring about many changes to the net metering framework, which, amongst other things, will offer incentives for maximum concurrence, or direct consumption of the greatest possible quantities of RES-generated electricity.

Overall, the directive, which needs to be incorporated into Greek law by June, 2021, will introduce tougher regulations, require the sale of excess energy quantities and offer reduced offsetting time periods.

As net metering represents a form of energy storage, beyond the power meter, the new framework’s preparations have been handed to a committee formed by the energy ministry to put together a legal and regulatory framework for energy storage units.

The new net metering formula will remunerate RES energy that is injected into the grid network for not being instantly consumed. This remuneration amount will need to reflect production value. As a result, officials are considering to base these remuneration calculations on the day-ahead market price.

The resulting net-metering balance will be based on the value of production and consumption, a completely different approach to the current system, for which offsetting is based on the quantities of electricity that have been produced and consumed.

Solar energy association wants net metering rule revisions for boost

The Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (SEF/HELAPCO) has called for a series of net metering rule revisions by the government to stimulate growth for the sector.

Proposals forwarded by the association include making possible the amortization of net metering investment costs directly through electricity bills.

At present, electricity suppliers offer net metering system installations through bank financing packages that cover between 70 and 80 percent of the net metering investment cost, ranging between 5,000 and 12,000 euros.

As a result, consumers are responsible for paying initial sums of between 1,000 and 1,500 euros for net metering system installations concerning small homes and between 2,400 and 3,600 euros for larger-scale projects.

Under current conditions, amortization requires eight years. This effectively means consumers opting to install net metering systems stand to benefit from reduced electricity bill costs for a period of 17 years as net metering agreements are offered for 25-year periods.

Authorities anticipate the gradual rise of the electromobility sector will boost demand for net metering as increased domestic consumption will make installations for self-production more attractive.

Priority rights for increasing energy community bids to be abolished

The energy ministry is seriously considering to abolish a priority given by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO to the examination of grid connection applications made by energy communities.

The number of energy community applications has snowballed as a result of this prioritization, leaving unattended thousands of applications submitted by investors pursuing individual renewable energy projects.

A ministerial decision on the matter could be issued next week, energypress sources informed.

Priority rights are expected to be maintained for certain cases, including energy community projects involving local government organizations and net metering plans.

A temporary solution severely curbing priority rights for energy communities is expected to be implemented until an official decision is reached.

Energy communities enable electricity consumers to also become producers through renewable energy output, while also permitting municipalities and regional authorities to establish localized energy policies.

Major changes to RES licensing procedure sought by ministry

Ambitious renewable energy targets included in Greece’s new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) have energy ministry officials looking to overhaul current RES licensing procedures for a swifter, simplified process, currently far too slow and detrimental for investors.

A big number of RES project installations will need to be made over the next decade if the lofty NECP targets are to be achieved.

The installed RES capacity will need to be more than doubled, meaning emphasis will need to be placed on simplifying current licensing procedures, slowed down by bureaucracy and excessive laws, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted during yesterday’s presentation of the new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP).

The energy ministry is looking for radical solutions that stretch beyond just cutting back on the excessive number of documents and procedures now needed, or digitizing procedures.

On the contrary, the ministry believes the entire RES licensing process needs to be reexamined and revamped. Some sub-permits that are currently needed amid the overall procedure, taking years to cover, may be scrapped if their elimination would not cause any dangers.

Any revisions deemed extremely urgent could be rushed into an energy ministry draft bill on the environment, now being prepared for parliament in January.

Other ministry priorities include developing legal framework for energy storage; a pricing framework for hybrid stations on the islands; further support for RES installations at buildings through net metering; as well as the establishment of legal framework for alternative RES systems, such as offshore wind farms, Sdoukou told the NECP event.

Ministry to make net metering revisions for greater appeal

Increased RES self-production and net metering appears to be a leading priority for the energy ministry, committed to an increase of the country’s renewable energy capacity, which, besides the development of major facilities, also depends on the installation of RES systems at as many domestic and business units as possible.

As part of the overall effort, the energy ministry has decided to make drastic changes to the existing net metering support mechanism, the objective being to make it more appealing for consumers as potential RES producers, energypress sources have informed.

One of the ideas being considered by officials at this stage is to enable prosumers (producer-consumer) to sell excess electricity production to the grid at a price level equivalent to the System Marginal Price (SMP), the wholesale price.

Another thought is to replace the current net metering billing period, covering three years, with a system offering instantaneous calculations.

Such revisions, compatible with EU directives, are already being adopted by other EU member states. Their implementation in Greece is expected to offer household and business electricity consumers further incentive to install RES systems, primarily solar panels, on roofs and rooftops.

Irrespective of the prospective support mechanism changes, net metering has already become a more attractive prospect for consumers as a result of power utility PPC’s recent electricity tariff hikes, which have considerably shortened the recouping period for net metering installation costs.

Excessive net metering delays at DEDDIE, investors protest

DEDDIE/HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, has begun accepting net metering applications submitted by renewable energy self-producers and energy communities following a capacity increase to 1 MW from the previous limit of 500 KW, but investors who had submitted applications under the previous terms find themselves still waiting for their bids to be approved.

The operator is taking far too long to offer connection terms, requiring as many as five months instead of a one-month waiting time limit promised by a related law, interested investors have informed energypress.

DEDDIE officials have been busy processing a wave of solar energy park applications in the 500 MW category. The work overload has forced the operator to only accept applications concerning solar energy parks and avoid taking in bids that include storage systems.

Net metering 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.

Ministry net metering revisions aiming to improve poor data

The energy ministry has introduced a series of net metering revisions but it remains to be seen of these can improve the poor net metering statistics registered to date.

The revisions, effective as of March 5, include a net metering capacity increase from 500 kW to 1,000 kW as well as higher net metering capacities for some of the bigger islands, namely Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Lesvos, Chios and Samos.

In addition, net metering eligibility has been broadened to cover all RES technologies, including solar, small-scale wind turbines and hydropower stations, biomass, biogas and geothermal.

Also, net metering associating low and mid-voltage production and consumption, as well as combined RES technologies, has been permitted.

Net metering 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.

Strong incentives are needed if the disappointing net metering data, especially for domestic systems, is to improve, Stelios Psomas, Policy Advisor at SEF/HELAPCO (Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies), has stressed.

SEF has proposed eliminating public service compensation (YKO) surcharges from  energy consumed and offset by self production.

Meanwhile, authorities are preparing to conduct a study in June on a remuneration mechanism for energy storage systems and other services offering grid stability, sources noted.

Net metering being expanded to cover all RES technologies

An energy ministry amendment to a bill introduced for the establishment of energy communities, promising decentralized, locally generated energy solutions, will broaden the use of net metering by permitting all RES technologies to take part.

The amendment, complying with EU directives, will bolster the roles of consumers by broadening net metering applications and allowing self-production, energy storage, consumption and trade.

Net metering 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.

Until now, net metering has been restricted to photovoltaic and small wind turbine applications. Other RES technologies, including geothermal production, were barred from utilizing the self-production system.

Terms and prerequisites will be set by a ministerial decision.

 

Rate of net metering applications on the rise

The rate of net metering applications in Greece is rising as self-producing households and small-scale enterprises move to benefit from the mechanism enabling 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.

A total of 1,321 applications have been submitted from May, 2015, when the mechanism was introduced in Greece, to June this year, while, of these, 694 are already operational, data released yesterday by the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, locally acronymed SEF, has shown.

Net metering has proven to be a successful tool in various countries, especially within the PV sub-sector, for consumers seeking to partially offset overall consumption and save on energy costs.

Net metering implementation issues subduing wider interest

Net metering applications have slowed down in more recent times, especially since the beginning of this year, market data has shown, as a result of problems encountered by applicants seeking to adopt the measure, sector officials have told energypress.

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.

Problems encountered by early birds have dampened the general interest in net metering.

Inaccurate power meter readings by HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, committed frequently, according to sources, have stood as a key issue in the problems encountered by net metering participants.

Major delays by the main power utility PPC in delivering finalized billing amounts is another problem faced by participants. The utility just recently issued its first batch of annual net metering bills to net metering participants who registered in 2015. Self producers have, as a result, faced various unfair conditions, including being deprived of a 15 percent discount offered by PPC for punctual electricity bill payments.

To date, 1,317 net metering applications have been made around the country since May, 2015, when the initiative was launched.

The overall pace is expected to pick up now that HEDNO has begun receiving applications for virtual net metering. This measure allows vocational groups offering publically beneficial work, such as educational institutions, farmers and municipalities, to link fragmented and scattered operations and bases to just one electricity meter and offset the cost of electricity supplied to them by the power utility with electricity produced by their own power production systems for the grid.

 

 

Ministry preparing to deliver energy cooperatives draft bill

The energy ministry is preparing legal framework that will permit the establishment of energy cooperatives, enabling the operation of wind farms, bioenergy and photovoltaic farms for energy production with local and regional scope.

The ministry intends to soon deliver to Parliament a draft bill whose content will include start-up and operating regulations for energy cooperatives.

“The development of this democratic form of energy planning will also serve to change the country’s energy mix, as energy projects of mild environmental impact, such as renewable energy facilities, constantly gaining ground, are expected to be promoted on a local scale,” noted energy minister Giorgos Stathakis.

Internationally recognized energy cooperative practices have already been studied and assessed at the ministry, which will use its conclusions, along with EU directives, to shape a draft bill appropriate for local conditions.

A number of European countries, including Germany, Belgium and Denmark, have already acknowledged the usefulness and significance of local energy cooperatives.

The Greek version being promoted by the energy ministry will not restrict consumers to the role of client but also enable entrepreneurial participation in cooperatives.

Consumers will have a say in cooperative matters and their energy needs, while profit objectives will not necessarily serve as the main driving force behind these energy cooperatives.

Ultimately, energy costs are expected to be lowered through the utilization of various energy market tools, including net metering, virtual net metering and smart meters.

 

Ministerial decision for net metering revisions imminent

A RAE (Regulatory Authority for Energy) list of proposed revisions concerning the legal framework for net metering, both conventional and virtual, has been forwarded to the energy ministry.

This RAE proposal will serve as a basis for a ministerial decision to soon be delivered by the energy ministry, ending months of talks between the government, RAE and market officials, the objective being to make RES self-production investments a more attractive prospect.

According to energypress sources, the ministerial decision will include RAE proposals for the installation of tracker systems and net metering penetration on the islands.

The ministerial decision is not expected to include any changes to the RES-supporting ETMEAR surcharge.

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.

Virtual net metering links fragmented and scattered operations, such as farmer plots, to just one electricity power meter to offset the cost of electricity supplied by the power utility with electricity produced through PV self-production for the grid.

 

 

Net metering applications at 954 total since last year’s launch

A total of 954 net metering applications have been submitted by interested parties throughout Greece from May, 2015, when the program was launched for low-voltage PV power generation, to July this year, according to latest data provided by HELAPCO, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, locally acronymed SEF.

HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, followed up last year’s net metering launch for low-voltage PV producers by also making the offer available to medium-voltage PV producers late last October.

Net metering 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.

Of the 954 net metering applications submitted, 307, or 32 percent, are now fully operational.

In terms of capacity, the applications made amount to 17.28 MW, while those operating have a 4.1 MW capacity.

 

Net metering for farmers expected by end of August

An amendment for a virtual net metering plan concerning agricultural and livestock farmers, promising major electricity cost savings, is expected to be published in the government gazette by mid-August, signaling the measure’s launch.

The initiative will enable farmers to install photovoltaic systems with respective 20-KW capacities for electricity production. Electricity costs in the primary sector reach as much as 40 percent of total costs.

Through the net metering plan, electricity amounts generated by farmer PV facilities will be supplied to the grid and then offset annually against the cost of power supplied by PPC, the main power utility.

According to Kostas Spanoulis, president of the Panhellenic Farming Photovoltaics Association, talks have taken place in an effort to offer agricultural and livestock farmers reasonably priced PV systems, at levels of around 20,000 euros.

Spanoulis said this investment amount could be amortized within three to four years, essentially offering farmers free electricity from then on amid 25-year contracts to be offered by PPC for net metering arrangements.

The association’s chief said the measure promises to offer an incentive for young agricultural and livestock farmers.

Ministry working seriously on small wind-energy system promotion

The Environment and Energy Ministry is working on a comprehensive framework promoting the installation of small wind-energy turbines in Greece. To specify terms and conditions, the effort is seen as a first serious attempt by the ministry for the development of this renewable energy sub-sector.

The objective is to have prepared a finalized plan by early in the summer, followed by the signing of a ministerial decision that will launch a development program for installation of small turbines with a capacity of up to 50 kW, as was stipulated by legislation ratified in 2013 but which has yet to be implemented.

Officials working on the plan are believed to be focused on two key aspects, the regional factor, or where installation of small wind-energy turbines will be permitted, and technical standards and certification to be required.

An effort is being made by ministry officials to avoid complexities for prospective investors. Officials also intend to allow small-turbine operators to take advantage of net metering provisions, as is the case with photovoltaic systems.

Net metering 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.

Despite the existence of investment and commercial interest, activity in the small-scale wind energy sector is currently grounded. The number of applications submitted to HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, by parties interested in installing small wind-energy turbines, based on the older law, has varied in conflicting reports, but the tally is definitely over 1,000.

These applications will be processed, based on order of submission, once the new ministerial decision has been signed, assuming their respective applicants are still interested, given the new tariffs to be included in the new RES support framework.

Virtual net metering after Easter, starting with farmers

A virtual net metering plan offering energy cost savings will be introduced immediately after the Orthodox Easter break, when a ministerial decision is expected to be signed to bring the measure into effect, initially for farmers, sources have informed energypress.

In talks with agitated local farmers a couple of months ago, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had promised to offer the agricultural sector virtual net metering as a tool to help reduce energy costs. At the time, numerous farmers were involved in extensive protests, which included road blocks around the country, to protest against expected tax and social security contribution increases.

Besides the agricultural sector, other categories associated with public services will also be given the green light for virtual net metering, such as schools and other educational institutions, the sources noted.

Many farmers work fragmented plots of land scattered in different areas. Virtual net metering will allow for all land masses cultivated by each farmer to be linked to just one electricity meter. By installing photovoltaic systems for self-produced electricity, each farmer will – through virtual net metering – be able to offset the electricity used when pumping water for fields.

Net metering 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.

Sources said the virtual net metering plan will be made widely available for all consumer categories in a second stage to follow.

For some time now, photovoltaic sector officials have pushed for the virtual net metering plan’s implementation, noting it will offer energy cost-cutting solutions for various professional categories, including hotels.

 

RES sector investments held back by various pending issues

A series of pending issues in the renewable energy sources (RES) sector, most crucially, the finalization of a new support plan, have led to sluggish progress and stagnated investments, sector officials have pointed out in comments to energypress.

Quite paradoxically, while prospective investors are waiting for the new RES support plan specifying production payment details, they face an imminent deadline at the end of this month to submit letters of guarantee without knowing whether their investments can be sustainable.

Also, although an amendment has been made permitting the imposition of a surcharge on RES producers to help finance the “disruption management” energy cost-saving plan for the industrial sector, a further revision needed to avoid applying this surcharge to gross earnings declared by RES producers has yet to be made, RES officials pointed out.

In addition, seven months have elapsed since HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, promised to free a sizeable backlog of older and unitilized RES project permit applications, most of which will not be actualized. These dormant applications need to be cancelled to free capacity for islands where investors are seeking to pursue net metering plans. Considerable interest is being by investors on Crete. HEDNO has yet to publish an official list detailing the cancelled applications.

Net metering 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.

Virtual net metering plan may start with farming sector

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who held extensive talks with farmers yesterday, making a number of proposals to end their protests against tax and social security contribution rises, also presented a plan to introduce a virtual net metering system that would help reduce farming electricity costs, according to energypress sources.

Though many farmers work fragmented plots of land scattered in different areas, virtual net metering would allow for all land masses cultivated by each farmer to be linked to just one electricity meter. By installing photovoltaic systems for self-produced electricity, each farmer will – through virtual net metering – be able to offset electricity consumed when pumping water for fields.

Net metering 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.

The photovoltaic sector has also been pushing for the introduction of virtual net metering. Sector officials believe its implementation will offer solutions to many professional categories, including the hotel sector. If made available for farming, virtual net metering will be expanded to other professions, it is anticipated.

During his talks with farmers yesterday, Tsipras also promised favorable pay-back terms for amounts owed to PPC, the main power utility. Farmers were told they would be able to pay amounts owed to PPC, both old and new, through at least 36 installments without needing to provide a deposit up front to qualify for the favorable pay-back offer.

Few older PV plans confirmed, capacity freed for net metering

A minimal number of investors have confirmed their older interest for roof-mounted photovoltaic systems on the non-interconected islands, according to energypress sources.

Last summer, HEDNO, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, called on investors to confirm older unutilized bids that had been submitted as a means of clearing the sizeable backlog of renewable energy source (RES) applications, many of which will not be actualized.

As expected, very few investors responded to the confirmation request made by the operator. Low tariffs nowdays offered for the installation of new PV systems have made the prospect unfeasible for investors.

Older applications which have not been confirmed will be cancelled, freeing capacity for islands where a net metering offer may be utilized.

The net metering plan will enable 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.

The bulk of applications to be cancelled were made by investors for PV systems on Crete.

A substantial amount of applications had been submitted in the past, when tariffs were higher, by parties interested in installing PV systems, resulting in a lengthy waiting period for investors now truly interested. Authorities are still processing applications submitted back in 2012 and 2013.

This backlog, which includes many scrapped investment plans and has saturated capacity limits, has deprived investors on large islands propelled by heightened economic activity from utilizing the net metering offer. Crete and Skyros are among the locations most heavily affected.