Solar, wind, energy storage system costs ‘exceed’ RAE figures

The cost of installing and launching solar and wind energy facilities, as well as storage systems, exceeds levels presumed by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, RES agencies and investors have pointed out in public consultation staged by the authority on the cost of new entry for all electricity generation technologies.

RES equipment costs have not only failed to stabilize in recent times, but, on the contrary, struck an upward trajectory, RES officials highlighted.

Some public consultation participants pointed out that RAE’s figures only factor in equipment supply and construction costs without taking into account the connection costs entailed.

SEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, rejected RAE’s capital expenditure estimate for domestic roof-mounted solar panel installations, presumed to be €550,000/MW, noting this figure is extremely low and does not reflect actual market conditions.

The association also noted that RAE’s €400,000/MW CAPEX estimate for commercial PVs is also too low, contending this cost ranges between €500,000-€550,000/MW.

The capital expenditure figure for offshore wind farms is far greater than RAE’s estimate of 3.1 million euros per MW, contended ELETAEN, the Greek Wind Energy Association.

“Given the lack of relevant experience in Greece, depth of the seas, and the still-undeveloped supply chain, the €3.1m/MW estimate is probably very optimistic,” ELETAEN stated.

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.

Small-scale PV investors must unite to skip network saturation obstacles

Energy authorities are working on resolving network access problems encountered by small-scale PV investors as a result of saturation issues and appear headed towards promoting joint applications by investors that would avoid distribution network operator restrictions.

Small-scale PV investors, because of their limited size, are currently forced to design solar energy parks for network access through distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s distribution network, not transmission networks controlled by IPTO, whose transmission networks, in most cases, are not saturated but demand higher capacities for connection eligibility.

The saturation problem of distribution networks concerns many parts of the country. In many cases, these saturated networks cannot be upgraded for capacity increases.

Some small-scale PV investors are already opting to team up and avoid the distribution network limitations imposed by DEDDIE. However, reaching consensus for a joint plan can be challenging.

The energy ministry is currently engaged in talks with DEDDIE/HEDNO, IPTO and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, officials, a leading ministry official has informed.

“We want to clear the way for interested parties currently being blocked by DEDDIE as a result of the saturated networks,” the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou told a forum staged by SEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies. “We’re thinking, for example, of bringing together many PV projects which, at present, cannot be connected to DEDDIE’s network as a result of saturation, for one united application to IPTO.”

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.

PV groups seek sustainable PV tariffs for units up to 500 MW

Two local photovoltaic groups have called for the establishment of a new mechanism offering steady and sustainable electricity generation sale prices for new PV installations with capacities of up to 500 MW.

The two industry groups, SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, and SEF/HELAPCO, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, representing PV equipment traders and technicians, submitted a joint request to the energy ministry.

Current regulations enable PV installations, without any involvement in competitive procedures, for facilities of up to 500 MW, but the resulting tariffs offered for electricity production are extremely low as they are determined by a formula multiplying the previous year’s System Marginal Price by 1.1 or 1.2. Low tariffs offered through this procedure are keeping investors away.

The proposal made by the two associations calls for the establishment of steady tariffs through competitive procedures as a means of ensuring that PV equipment cost reductions are factored in and guaranteeing sustainable prices for new small-to-medium size installations.


Finalized RES auction list to be announced, changes wanted

An examination by authorities of investor appeals following the rejection of registration applications concerning upcoming RES auctions on July 2 have not led to any major changes to the final list of participants, sources have informed.

The finalized list of auction participants is expected to be published either today or tomorrow.

A considerable number of RES auction applications concerning capacities for large-scale photovoltaic projects were rejected as, in these cases, prospective investors failed to submit in digital form all appropriate support documents as they had done on paper. Virtually all of these rejections are expected to be upheld.

The total capacity of applications approved for small-scale PV installations totaled 91.6 MW and concerns 149 projects. A total of 28 applications concerning this sub-category were rejected. A total of 177 applications for 105.5 MW were submitted.

As for the large-scale PV category, concerning projects of between one and 20 MW, a total of just 52.9 MW for eight projects was approved. Applications for a total of 26 projects representing 144 MW were rejected in this category. A total of 34 applications for 197 MW had been submitted.

In the third category, concerning wind energy installations of between 3 and 50 MW, all 14 applications submitted, totaling 308 MW, were approved.

Renewable energy market officials are calling for changes to future auction regulations and licensing procedures.

“It is clear, regardless of the auction developments, that rules and procedures need to be changed if we truly want fast and robust renewable energy sector growth in our country,” SEF/HELAPCO, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, announced in a statement.

The association also noted that only a small number of PV projects are currently at a mature stage as a result of a misjudged decision taken by authorities in 2012 to freeze licensing activities in the sector for two years.

“We call on the energy ministry to promptly simplify licensing procedures so that photovoltaic project growth can be achieved,” SEF noted in its statement.

Leftover capacities concerning the July 2 RES auction will be reoffered to investors through an additional auction towards the end of the year. RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is expected to make an official announcement on this in September.

According to SEF calculations, bidders representing 91.63 MW of solar energy projects will compete in the auction’s first category concerning solar energy projects less than one MW. Investors representing a total of 52.92 MW of solar energy projects will compete in the second category, concerning projects of between one and 20 MW, SEF estimates.

Terms implemented to ensure heightened bidding competition at the auctions require applications to oversubscribe amounts to be auctioned by 75 percent.

As a result, solar project investors representing 52.92 MW in the larger category concerning projects of between one and 20 MW will compete for 30.2 MW.

This is less than the 35.12 MW auctioned in this category at a pilot auction staged in December, 2016.

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.