Flexibility in terms to unblock subsidies for roof-mounted PVs

Authorities are preparing more flexible terms that would free funds available through a subsidy program for roof-mounted photovoltaics, currently encountering blockages when the specifications of equipment installed are different to systems noted in subsidy applications.

Revisions to the pvstegi platform, accepting applications, are now being planned in order to offer applicants some degree of flexibility. The changes will enable small reductions in capacities of PV systems installed compared to capacities of PV systems specified in applications.

At present, the pvstegi platform, operated by distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, does not allow for any deviations. Subsidy procedures are immediately blocked if any discrepancies are identified.

Minor capacity deviations that may result from the time subsidy applications are submitted to the time photovoltaic systems have been installed are understandable as investors could end up opting for slightly different equipment, such as solar panels or batteries with different capacities, during stretched out time periods between application and installation, market officials pointed out.

A first wave of successful applicants is expected to soon receive subsidy amounts through the roof-mounted PVs program. Approximately 10,000 applications have been submitted to date. PV systems need to incorporate batteries to be eligible for subsidies.

PV auction tariffs may be limited to units with batteries

The energy ministry, which has identified an urgent need for battery integration into PV projects, aims to incentivize such a combination by restricting PV tariffs offered at RES auctions for investors developing solar energy units with storage units.

The ministry fears prospective solar energy growth would have an unfavorable wider impact on the grid if PV projects develop at a faster rate than battery usage.

Solar energy farms are seen, by the ministry, as a key problem as they operate in coordinated fashion, producing energy at the same time of day, regardless of where they are located around the country, whereas wind farms, offer inconsistent output, day and night, which varies depending on their location.

Installed RES capacity growing at a faster rate than electricity storage would not only shrink available grid capacity but will also exacerbate RES cutbacks, made to prevent grid overloading, the ministry has noted.

Capacity boost to 1,000 MW for RES units with batteries

The energy ministry is preparing to increase the total capacity of an operational support framework offered at auction for wind and solar energy units with batteries from 200 MW to 1,000 MW.

The ministry will need to enter discussion with the European Commission for revisions to the existing support system, already approved by Brussels.

Under the current format, the support framework provides for operational support of RES projects with a total capacity of 4,145 MW, of which 3,750 MW concern standard PV and wind energy units without energy storage systems.

Increasing the capacity of renewable energy projects equipped with batteries is a proactive measure favored by local authorities to address issues related to grid overloading and the curtailment of green energy output.

This approach aims to enhance the flexibility and reliability of the power grid while minimizing the need to curtail renewable energy generation during periods of high production.

The expectation is that renewable energy source output cuts will become more frequent in the future as a result of continued growth RES penetration.

RES units equipped with batteries also promise to serve as an antidote for grid saturation points anticipated in coming years.


Roof PV applications now over 14,000, 60% with batteries

Completed applications for small-scale, roof-mounted PVs with capacities of up to 10 kW have reached 14,230, of which 8,752 include plans for batteries, making them eligible for a related subsidy support program.

The public’s strong interest for roof-mounted PV installations highlights its growing interest in net-metering solutions as a means of energy-cost reduction.

An increasing number of applicants are revising their RES production licenses in order to incorporate batteries into their installations and, thereby, become eligible for subsidy support.

The 14,230 applications submitted so far represent a total capacity of approximately 100 MW, while roughly one-third of 238 million euros in subsidies that have been made available for roof-mounted PVs has been absorbed.

Also, between 7 and 8 percent of RES units that have applied for grid capacity are now connected to the grid.

Some investors have hesitated to submit applications to pvstegi, the platform established for roof-mounted PV subsidies, over uncertainty regarding the disbursement of subsidies.

Specifically, one term stipulates that subsidies would not be disbursed if any irregularities, such as building permit violations, were to be identified. This condition is typically in place to ensure that PV systems are installed in compliance with local building and zoning regulations.

Fully subsidized municipal PVs to aid low-income households

The energy ministry is set to finalize a support program  designed to fully subsidize municipalities for PV installations that will be used to supply low-cost electricity to low-income households via municipal energy communities.

PV systems to be installed around the country through this initiative promise to offer a total capacity of 1,000 MW and play a key role in combating energy poverty, sources informed energypress.

A wider support package for low-income households being prepared by the government is expected to represent a key part of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ speech at the upcoming Thessaloniki International Fair, taking place September 9 to 17.

Mitsotakis was scheduled to present his government’s four-year plan this coming weekend, but the visit will now be rescheduled, most likely for within the next week, as a result of attention needed to the consequences of a fierce storm that has battered many parts of Greece over the past couple of days.

The PV support program for municipalities, budgeted at 120 million euros, will be implemented by TAIPED, Greece’s privatization fund. Municipalities will need to have established energy communities to be eligible.

Some 30,000 low-income households are expected to benefit from the program’s first stage.

Support program for business-sector PVs set for September launch

The energy ministry plans to launch a photovotaics support program for businesses by the end of September, promising enterprises energy-cost savings through self-produced energy.

Subsidy support for PV installations in the business sector will be reserved for systems incorporating zero feed-in batteries, which do not enable injections of renewable energy output into the grid.

This effectively means business-sector PVs will be able to be installed anywhere around the country, regardless of grid capacity availability.

The list of successful applicants, to vie for support funds totaling 160 million euros, should be finalized towards the end of November, or, in a worst-case scenario, no later than December, energypress sources informed.

The support program, to be funded by the Resilience and Recovery Fund, will be administered by TAIPED, the Greek privatization fund.

Greece among EU’s top 5 RES producers in first half of 2023

Greece was among the EU’s top five renewable energy producers in the first half of 2023, while Europe’s solar energy market has experienced a period of significant growth in recent years, a recent study from the energy think-tank Ember has shown.

A total of 17 EU member states achieved record RES energy-mix shares in the first half of 2023, according to the study. RES output in Greece and Romania represented more than 50 percent of the overall energy production levels for both countries, unprecedented for both, the study highlighted.

Also, Denmark and Portugal achieved a significant milestone, with their renewable energy output surpassing the 75 percent mark for the first time, the Ember study revealed.

In another first, wind and solar energy output exceeded 30 percent of the EU’s overall energy production in May and June, according to the study.

As for newly installed RES capacity during the first half of 2023, compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, the Ember study showed an acceleration in RES penetration, particularly notable in the PV sector.

Following 2022’s record performance for PV installations in the EU, which totaled 33 GW, the momentum continued through the first half of 2023. Germany was the EU’s best performer, installing 6.5 GW in PV capacity during the first six months this year, a 10 percent increase. Poland followed with 2 GW, a 17 percent increase, and Belgium ranked third with 1.2 GW, a 19 percent increase.

HELLENiQ Renewables binding agreement for acquisition of Kozani PV parks

In the context of its Vision 2025 Strategy, HELLENiQ ENERGY Holdings S.A. has just announced the execution by its 100% subsidiary, HELLENiQ Renewables, of a binding agreement with LIGHTSOURCE RENEWABLE ENERGY GREECE HOLDINGS (UK) LIMITED for the acquisition (upon the start of commercial operations) of a PV portfolio in Kozani with an aggregate capacity of up to 180 MW, of which over 50% is contracted on a long-term basis. The projects are expected to start commercial operations gradually, between 1Q24 and 3Q24.

This agreement accelerates the implementation of the HELLENiQ ENERGY Group’s strategic plan to reach at least 1 GW of operating RES capacity by 2025 and over 2 GW by 2030.


GoodWe launches AI-empowered Next-Gen AFCI technology

GoodWe, a leading provider of solar inverters, has introduced its new-generation Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI), validated by TÜV Rheinland, to address DC arcing faults in photovoltaic (PV) systems. By integrating advanced artificial intelligence (AI), this technology detects arcing with remarkable precision. It boasts an arc detection distance of 200m and achieves a rapid shutdown within 500ms. In collaboration with TÜV Rheinland, GoodWe has also released a whitepaper focusing on the safety concerns associated with DC arcing in PV installations.

The significant risk of electrical fires in PV systems due to DC arcing faults has become more prominent as the newly installed PV capacity reached approximately 240GW in 2022 and continues to rise. Recognizing this issue, GoodWe has pushed the boundaries of AFCI innovation to safeguard PV systems, in line with major market standards such as UL1699B and IEC63027.

TÜV Rheinland confirmed that GoodWe’s AFCI complies with technical market standards for dealing with DC arc faults within PV systems in residential, commercial and industrial scenarios, after a comprehensive evaluation.

Distinguished from traditional detecting approach that relies on personal experience, GoodWe’s new AFCI incorporates AI and deep learning to learn and analyze arc characteristics in various scenarios. This enables the creation of an arc characteristics library, eliminating false and omitted reports caused by environmental noise. GoodWe’s PV systems integrated with this AFCI function can achieve precise detection accuracy, as validated by TÜV Rheinland.

The advanced AFCI constantly searches for arc characteristics, and upon detecting a fault, the PV system will switch off the power supply within 500ms, surpassing the UL 1699B standard’s requirement of a 2.5s shutdown speed.

Furthermore, the AFCI supports a maximum detection cable length of up to 200m and can withstand a maximum input current of up to 30A, making it ideal for larger PV installations.

“We assess the performance of AFCI solutions through rigorous testing and evaluation, hoping it helps customers select the most suitable and reliable AFCI solution for their solar systems.” Stated Mario Comboni, Product Manager from TÜV Rheinland Group. “It is plausible that AFCI technology will be regulated in most European countries in the future. By releasing the white paper, we hope to contribute to shaping the future regulatory landscape and fostering the adoption of harmonized standards globally.”

“For the past five years, we have been dedicated to developing AFCI technology and leading the market in innovating advanced AFCI function. GoodWe’s new AFCI technology not only meets the standard requirements but also offers additional features and enhanced functionality.” said Ali Bouattour, Technical Director at GoodWe Europe GmbH. “We have made substantial investments in research and development to strengthen our technical capacity for long-term success. Looking forward, we will continue our collaborations with partners to deliver optimized solutions.”

PHOTO: Ali Bouattour from GoodWe, pictured left, and Mario Comboni from TÜV Rheinland.

Installed RES capacity reaches 11,284 MW in June

Installed RES capacity reached a total of 11,284 MW in June, according to a latest report published by DAPEEP, the RES market operator.

Solar energy installations, at 5,788 MW, represent this total’s biggest share, followed by wind turbines, at 4,828 ΜW, hydropower, at 280 MW, biomass, at 131 MW, and combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) units, at 255 MW.

As for the share of RES production by these technologies, 52.7 percent of output in June was provided by photovoltaics, 34.3 percent by wind turbines, 2.5 percent by roof-mounted solar panels, 4.6 percent by small-scale hydropower units, 3.1 percent by biomass-biogas units, and 1.6 percent by CCHP units.

RAAEY to avoid clear-cut view on small PV RES auction issues

RAAEY, the Regulatory Authority for Waste, Energy and Water, is not expected to deliver a clear-cut decision on whether the results of two RES auctions for small-scale PVs of up to 400 KW in the Peloponnese and Crete should be confirmed or annulled, but, instead, will offer a report detailing how these auctions proceeded and what kind of issues arose.

Decisions will then need to be taken at a political level as to whether the results of these RES auctions remain valid.

There have been indications of some issues concerning distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO’s online platform used for these auctions, but, overall, the platform, to which applications were submitted, ran smoothly, according to the authority.

For example, although bidders from abroad were not blocked from participating in these RES auctions, this does not appear to have affected the auctions as, in practice, no bids were lodged from outside Greece.

Also, evidence suggests that robotic software for automated bidding was used. However, any investors who may have employed such a method did not gain an advantage over rival bidders as very few applications appear to have been successfully submitted in such fashion.

It is also important to note that data concerning the platform’s operation for the two auctions is no longer available as it was deleted by the operator three months after the two RES auctions were staged, which makes it impossible to ascertain, with precision, how they fared.


SolarPower Europe: Greek solar energy goal for 2030 to be reached by ’24

Greece will achieve its 2030 solar capacity target included in the country’s National Energy and Climate Plan from 2019 six years earlier, by 2024, the SolarPower Europe association has forecast.

The association expects Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Netherlands to do likewise.

A total of 12 EU member states, among them Greece, have so far submitted upgraded NECPs with 2030 targets Their overall solar capacity additions exceeds 90 GW.

Upgraded NECP solar capacity targets have increased by an average of 63 percent. Lithuania is projected to achieve a 500 percent increase in solar capacity by 2030, while Finland, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden are seen doubling theirs.

The association estimates that four EU member states have already reached their solar capacity targets, 19 more are likely to reach it within the next five years, and another four between 2027 and 2030.

Germany pursuing hydrogen-based generation as sun, wind substitute

Germany is pursuing the ambition to become a global frontrunner in green hydrogen technology, a strategic endeavor rooted in the belief that harnessing fuel generated from renewable energy sources can play a pivotal role in mitigating worldwide carbon emissions. Furthermore, this endeavor is anticipated to fortify Europe’s biggest economy.

In this context, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) announced that it has agreed with the European Commission on a strategy for German hydrogen power plants.

The German government aims to have its electricity supply almost entirely based on renewable energy sources – mainly solar and wind – by 2035.

Nonetheless, during periods known as “dunkelflaute,” characterized by the absence of wind and sunlight required for energy production, power plants must be equipped to generate electricity using renewable fuels like hydrogen in order to meet demand.

Berlin’s agreement with the European Commission includes planned tenders for 8.8 GW of new hydrogen power plants and up to 15 GW of power plants to be switched to hydrogen operation by 2035.


Municipal PVs to offer low-cost power to households in need

A 120 million-euro support program to fully subsidize municipalities for PV installations intended to supply low-cost electricity to low-income households now appears set to be carried out, two years after first being announced.

The initiative, legislated a year ago, is expected to offer low-cost, even zero-cost electricity to approximately 30,000 low-income households.

According to sources, the energy ministry is now preparing the support program’s terms and conditions.

Municipalities will need to have either established energy communities or be members of energy communities, which will assume net-metering activities for low-income households.

In addition, municipalities will be permitted to install PVs at vacant spaces within their boundaries, or roof-mounted PV systems at buildings under their control, including public buildings and schools.

A tender for this subsidy program could be announced in early autumn, while Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis may announce further details during his speech at the upcoming annual Thessaloniki International Fair, scheduled to take place September 9 to 17 this year.

Energy minister Theodoros Skylakakis recently announced a government decision to offer energy-cost support to low-income households. The support program for municipalities could be incorporated into this government initiative.

Further step taken for roof-mounted solar panel licenses

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has taken a further step towards completing a licensing framework for roof-mounted solar panels by enabling such systems that have qualified for subsidy support to engage in net-metering at a capacity of up to 10.8 kW.

DEDDIE/HEDNO has underlined that PV units need to be electrified before supporting documents for subsidies can be submitted.

Subsidy amounts may be lowered or even cancelled if, following initial approval, discrepancies are found during inspections of data and supporting documents.

Some 12,500 grid-capacity reservation applications have been submitted by PV investors for small-scale systems with generation capacities of up to 10 kW.

Of these 12,500 applications, 7,500 combine batteries and, as a result, have secured subsidies. The other 5,000 or so grid-capacity reservation applications, submitted for standard residential solar panels, have been lodged by private owners not interested in qualifying for subsidy support.

RES project launches in 2023 forecast to reach record level

Renewable energy project launches in 2023 are expected to reach a record level and break the 2,000-MW barrier, according to a first quarter report released by DAPEEP, the RES market operator.

RES project launches this year are expected to total 2,016 MW, comprised of 412 MW in wind farms, 1,584 MW in PVs, 13.5 MW in small-scale hydropower facilities, 5.5 MW in biomass units, and 1 MW in combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) units, the DAPEEP report noted.

The operator’s forecast on the overall market penetration of renewables in 2023 remained unchanged compared to its previous projection made in a preceding 2022 fourth-quarter report.

The average auction price of unused greenhouse gas emission allowances for the remainder of this year is forecast to reach 82 euros per ton, according to the DAPEEP report.

Funds expected to be raised through green-energy Guarantees of Origin auctions in 2023 are projected to reach approximately 5 million euros, the report noted.

RES auction to offer 1,662 MW, leftover capacity expected

The next RES auction for large-scale wind and solar energy projects, scheduled to take place in September, will offer a mammoth capacity of 1,662 MW, consisting of 1,200 MW planned for this auction plus 462 MW left over from the previous procedure last September.

A total of 21 projects had secured an overall capacity of 538 MW from 1,000 MW offered last September.

If that session’s competition rules are maintained for the forthcoming session, then auction participants will need to represent a total of 2,992 MW, or 80 percent over the 1,662-MW total, for the full amount to be made available.

Market officials highly doubt that the participation level in September will be that high. If so, a RES auction capacity will be left over for a second year running.

This prospect has been largely attributed to the fact that investors behind a big portion of large-scale RES projects are preparing to establish PPAs.

Subdued starting prices set for September’s RES auction, a mixed session facilitating wind and solar energy projects, have been cited as another key factor likely to limit the auction’s level of participation as higher equipment and borrowing costs have not been taken into account, market officials added.

The starting price for solar energy projects has been set at 54 euros per MWh, while bidding for wind farm projects will start at 63 euros per MWh, the same levels offered at last September’s auction.

RAAEY, the Regulatory Authority for Waste, Energy and Water, is expected to officially announce September’s RES auction in August.



RES project additions total 320 in first four-month period

A total of 320 new RES projects were connected to the grid during the year’s first four-month period, increasing the number of active links to 19,182, up from 18,862 at the end of 2022, a new report released by DAPEEP, the RES market operator, has shown.

Active contracts are estimated to offer a total capacity of 10.14 GW for a production level of 1.55 TWh, while the net value of contracts is worth 144.5 million euros.

DAPEEP divides RES projects into two sections, one for projects activated prior to January 1, 2021, and the other for newer projects activated beyond this date.

The portfolio of projects activated prior to January 1, 2021 consisted of 18 fewer projects at the end of April, down to 15,332, from 15,350 last December, the DAPEEP report showed. These withdrawals are either RES projects seeking market alternatives following the expiry of contracts with DAPEEP or projects that have stopped operating.

On the contrary, the number of projects activated from January 1, 2021 onwards increased to 3,850 in April from 3,512 last December, the DAPEEP figures showed.

The country’s overall green-energy capacity totals 10.5 GW, led by solar energy farms, totaling 5.1 GW, followed by wind energy farms, at 4.5 GW, roof-mounted PVs, at 371 MW, small-scale hydropower units, offering 267 MW, biogas-biomass units at 115 MW, and combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) projects at 122 MW.

Until April, 2023, wind farms held the biggest share of the country’s green energy production, reaching 45.97 percent, followed by PVs, with 43.37 percent, small-scale hydropower units, with 4.29 percent, biogas, with 2.97 percent, roof-mounted PVs, with 1.73 percent, and CCHP units, with 1.61 percent.


Energy community requests for 2 gigantic floating solar farms

Energy communities have submitted license requests for two enormous floating solar farms off the island Evia, northeast of Athens, and Amfilohia, in the country’s northwest, offering a total prospective capacity of 18.6 GW.

These collective applications were among 206 license requests representing a total of 22.747 MW that were submitted to a June licensing cycle.

The Evia project, an 11.65-GW facility, is divided into two big clusters and a smaller one just off the island’s west side. The Amfilohia project, whose capacity is 7 GW, is planned to be installed just of the coastal town, on the eastern side of the Ambracian Gulf.

Highlighting the scale of these projects, the June cycle’s other RES license requests, numbering 203, represent a total capacity of just over 4 GW.

Business sector PV subsidies set for early autumn launch

The energy ministry, moving fast to catch up on election-related delays to a PV subsidy support plan for businesses, aims to launch the program by early autumn, energypress sources have informed.

The support package, worth a total of 160 million euros, promises to offer a considerable number of local businesses the opportunity to utilize solar energy in order to reduce their energy cost and environmental footprint.

A draft of the subsidy plan’s guide for applicants is just about ready, the sources informed. The guide is expected to be announced within summer so that interested parties can prepare ahead of applications in autumn.

This subsidy plan has been on the cards since the re-elected government’s previous term but was interrupted by the general election’s two rounds, held in May and June.

The subsidy plan, to be financed through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), is expected to benefit an estimated 9,700 businesses. The energy ministry, heading the effort, aims to attract enterprises of all sizes, from small-scale businesses to larger, more energy-intensive industries. A first-come, first-served criterion is expected to apply.

Subsidized PVs will operate based on a zero feed-in system, meaning they will not be able to inject electricity into the grid. Investors, however, will have the option of combining PVs with batteries, to also be offered subsidy support.


New minister outlines sector issues ahead of policy speech

The reelected conservative New Democracy party government’s newly appointed energy minister Theodoros Skylakakis has, in recent days, been preparing a list of energy market problems and pending matters, with emphasis on major issues, such as new tariffs, RES production cuts – needed during periods of low demand to avoid grid overloading – as well as development plans for offshore wind farms and hydrocarbon exploration, ahead of his parliamentary speech in Parliament tomorrow, when key policies by the new government will be outlined by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his associates.

In the lead-up, Skylakakis has held meetings with top officials representing key market players such as RAAEY, the Regulatory Authority for Waste, Energy and Water; power utility PPC; power grid operator IPTO; distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO; gas grid operator DESFA; RES market operator DAPEEP; and EDEYEP, the Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company, to discuss and take note of energy-sector problems and pending issues ahead of tomorrow’s speech in parliament.

The energy minister has also noted views expressed by RES sector officials on the new National Energy and Climate Plan. According to sources, Skylakakis’ predecessor, Pantelis Kapros – who served a short stint as energy minister in the caretaker government that held office between two rounds of voting, in May and June – has passed on a RES mix plan entailing a 60-40 share between wind and solar energy units, respectively.

Also, the new energy minister prefers to stick to a schedule that would terminate energy-crisis support measures at the end of September, rather than offer extensions, sources added.


Polysilicon, transportation price drops boost for PV sector

Falling prices for polysilicon, the basic material that goes into the making of solar panels, have dropped to a three-year low, helping offset higher interest rates faced by PV investors, a development expected to help the PV sector rebound, especially from September onwards, market players have told energypress.

Polysilicon price levels have fallen to levels last recorded in the summer of 2020, leaving behind price peaks of recent months that had made solar energy project business plans unsustainable.

China, a leader in the production of polysilicon, controls this market’s trends. Its polysilicon prices have been on a downward trajectory in recent times, falling to 8.54 dollars per kilo last week, the lowest level over the past three years, according to market data published by PV magazine.

As a result, the cost of solar panels has fallen from 30 cents per watt in 2022 to less than 20 cents per watt at present.

Besides descending polysilicon prices, a big reduction in transportation costs, down to one-fifth of prices recorded just recently, has also helped lower the cost of solar panels.


Solar panel prices continue decline in 2023, oversupply risk noted

Solar energy panel prices are expected to slide further during the remainder of 2023, in addition to a 10 percent decline recorded since last December, according to a latest report published by Bloomberg Intelligence, “Global Solar Energy Midyear Outlook”.

The downward price trajectory is expected to coincide with a global demand increase of as much as 40 percent for solar panels this year, driven by improved finances in the sector as well as supportive policies such as the USA’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Europe’s REPowerEU initiative.

Bloomberg analysts project the solar energy sub-sector will remain the fastest-growing of all power-generating sectors as it represents the world’s most cost-efficient power-generating technology.

The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) concerning solar panels, as well as the cost of panels, are expected to continue falling in 2024, which, combined with the constantly improving performance of systems, will positively impact the earnings of developers and installers, the report noted.

Also, the fallen cost of polysilicon, down almost 60 percent since December, combined with a projected 50 percent increase in production capacity, is expected to boost the revenue figures of manufacturers but also maintain the risk of oversupply in the industry.


RES investors turn to storage, fearing grid injection cuts

RES investors are turning to energy storage solutions in growing numbers, fearing revenue shortfalls as a result of operator-enforced grid injection cuts during periods of lower energy demand.

In June alone, RES investors submitted a total of 24 producer certification applications, representing 1.6 GW, for RES projects combining energy storage units, energypress sources informed. These portfolios include both solar and wind energy parks.

Investors behind RES projects with maturing licensing procedures are also expressing great interest in renewable energy facilities incorporating energy storage systems.

Also, interest in energy storage unit additions to RES projects already holding producer certificates has been on the rise since February, when a total of 24 applications, representing 644 MW, for license revisions enabling generation-storage combinations were submitted by investors.

RAAEY, the Regulatory Authority for Waste, Energy and Water, plans to soon assess all these applications.

Projects to be given the green light by the authority will join an already substantial portfolio of RES facilities equipped with energy storage systems.


Helleniq Energy planning solar farm for Thessaloniki refinery

Helleniq Energy, formerly named Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), plans to fully cover the electricity needs of its Thessaloniki refinery with green energy through the development of a major-scale solar energy farm that will be directly linked to the refinery.

The solar energy farm is planned to be located in Thessaloniki’s wider area, facilitating its link with the refinery.

Helleniq Energy also intends to install standalone batteries for energy storage when the solar farm’s green energy is not instantly used by the refinery.

The use of hydrogen as a means of chemical storage of excess electricity generation is also being considered. In practice, this means megawatt-hours not consumed at the same time will be used to produce renewable hydrogen through electrolysis, which will later be used as fuel for electricity generation via fuel cells when there is no production from the solar energy facility, or when production to meet the refinery’s electricity needs is insufficient.

Helleniq Energy is determined to make its refineries energy-independent as electricity supply issues that have arisen over recent years have seriously impacted the energy group’s refineries.

The company is also considering installing a high performance heat and power cogeneration unit at its refinery in Elefsina, west of Athens, to fully cover this facility’s energy needs.


Next mixed RES auction offering Europe’s lowest starting prices

RES auction starting prices in Greece have, contrary to other European markets, remained unchanged at levels set earlier this year ahead of a  session in September and, as a result, are currently the continent’s lowest.

Several months ago, local authorities set RES auction starting prices of 54 euros per MWh for solar energy and 63 euros per MWh for wind energy.

The energy crisis and its escalated wholesale electricity prices prompted – in more recent times – countries such as Germany to offer investors generous increases in RES auction starting prices.

These rises were offered in parts of the continent after European RES auctions held in 2022 failed to attract the anticipated level of interest from investors, leaving significant amounts of unwanted capacities, including in Greece.

Berlin raised its RES auction starting price for solar energy to 73 euros per MWh from 60 euros per MWh for a session in March. The initiative drew a satisfactory number of participants.

Serbia, preparing for its inaugural RES auction, is offering a starting price of 105 euros per MWh for wind energy and 90 euros per MWh for solar energy to attract investors.

Italy, for its most recent RES auction, in May, set a starting price of 65 euros per MWh for solar energy, the same level set by Spain for its most recent RES auction.

The UK recently offered a starting price of 54.8 euros per MWh for solar energy and 61.9 euros per MWh for wind energy.

Returning to Greece, it remains to be seen if the de-escalation in electricity prices of late will prompt investors to choose RES auctions for their project tariffs or instead opt for other solutions such as PPAs.


Interest in roof-mounted solar panel subsidies gaining momentum

Homeowners are displaying a satisfactory level of interest in the energy ministry’s subsidy support package for roof-mounted solar panel installations, launched in early March, though there is room for swifter progress, energy market players have noted.

Also, the emergence of new products in the sector is sparking greater consumer interest, while companies are making necessary adjustments to meet heightened demand, officials have noted, in response to energypress questions.

The energy ministry launched a platform offering subsidies for roof-mounted solar panel installations on March 2. Some 3,800 applications were submitted during the first nine-day period, while the total number of applications lodged has since risen to 11,000, of which approximately 6,500 have already been approved.

The support program has ushered in a new era for the solar panel market, representatives at Inergio-Tesco, Big Solar, Recom, Baywa r.e., JinkoSolar and S ungrow, told energypress. Sector revenues are rising, while customers are no longer perceiving self-production as an alien concept, the companies noted.

Intersolar 2023: GoodWe solidifies leadership in hybrid inverter technology

Munich, Germany – June 5, 2023GoodWe, a leading provider of PV energy storage solutions, will be presenting its latest innovations at booth B4-210 during Intersolar 2023 in Munich, Germany, from 14 to 16 June. Building on the proven success of GoodWe’s cutting-edge hybrid inverters, the company is set to unveil a brand-new suite of energy storage solutions specifically designed for the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment. Highlights also include exciting additions to the company’s residential and utility product portfolios, further demonstrating GoodWe’s unwavering commitment to delivering seamless solutions across all market segments.

With the launch of the EcoSmart Commercial portfolio, GoodWe offers a compelling lineup of energy storage solutions to accommodate the fast-growing C&I segment. Incorporating a broad selection of compatible products spanning inverters, batteries and accessories for C&I applications, the new product line enables modularized system-design while also providing convenient all-in-one solutions. The inverter solutions of GoodWe are at the core of every system, intelligently managing the battery while optimizing PV yield. By installing GoodWe’s PV energy storage system, businesses, both large and small, can benefit from significant economic, environmental, and operational advantages.

A comprehensive energy storage portfolio for residential applications is available under the EcoSmart Home umbrella, with products designed to optimize self-consumption of generated PV power. While already available on the market, the EcoSmart Home is extending its product portfolio. Visitors will have the opportunity to preview a new-generation ET hybrid inverter and Lynx F high-voltage battery prior to their official launch.

Product development is central to GoodWe’s business operations; the company is constantly innovating and expanding to create value for its customer base. This commitment is also reflected in the new additions to the utility portfolio. A new, highly durable string inverter with power ratings up to 350kW will be introduced at the exhibition. The inverter has been engineered to work tirelessly even in high-temperature conditions, effectively reducing LCOE for large-scale projects. Furthermore, GoodWe offers a compact MV station that combines easily with its string inverters, completing the solution offering.

“GoodWe’s remarkable journey over the past few years has been characterized by rapid product deployments across continents,” states Thomas Haering, President of GoodWe EMEA. “With our brand well-established in the market, Intersolar presents an exceptional opportunity to connect with the individuals driving our success. We look forward to engaging in face-to-face interactions and fostering open exchanges during the exhibition. Together, we are shaping the future of solar energy.”

GoodWe’s booth, featuring state-of-the-art inverters at its core, presents a full range of solutions for residential, commercial, and large-scale scenarios, all known for their exceptional efficiency, safety, and quality. These solutions will be displayed across the generous exhibition space of almost 500 sq meters. Furthermore, the Intersolar will see a relaunch of the popular GoodWe PLUS+ installer loyalty program, offering new and attractive benefits such as free warranty extensions.

GoodWe sincerely welcomes solar professionals from all segments to visit its booth to further explore the brand-new solar products tailored for the EMEA region.

About GoodWe

GoodWe is a world-leading PV inverter manufacturer and smart energy solution provider listed on Shanghai Stock Exchange (Stock Code: 688390). The company has more than 4,600 employees worldwide and has a track record of over 52 GW of installations in over 100 countries and regions. GoodWe offers an extensive range of products and solutions tailored for residential, commercial and industrial, and utility-scale PV systems, delivering reliable and high-performance solutions across its entire portfolio. In 2021, GoodWe was recognized as one of the top three hybrid inverter suppliers worldwide by Wood Mackenzie. For more information, visit goodwe.com.

Next mixed RES auction planned for September

The country’s next mixed RES auction is planned to be staged in September, according to a latest ministerial decision. Its official announcement, by RAAEY, the Regulatory Authority for Waste, Energy and Water, is expected to be made in mid-August.

The intention to stage the next mixed RES auction in September is not coincidental as, judging by latest indications, the authority will be focused on staging an inaugural auction for energy storage units over the preceding two months.

RAAEY expects to announce the forthcoming auction for standalone batteries a little after mid-June. Bids by participants are expected to face an early-July deadline.

September’s RES auction is planned to be staged as three sections, one each for solar and wind energy facilities, plus a combined section.

Starting prices for the mixed RES auction have been set at 54 euros per MWh for solar energy facilities and 63 euros per MWh for wind energy units, while a maximum capacity of 1,200 MW will be offered, including approximately 460 MW that was left over from a mixed RES auction in September, 2022.

The RES auction for solar energy units will be open to small-scale facilities with capacities of up to 1 MW. Investors behind these projects will bid for tariffs representing a total capacity of 200 MW at a starting price of 70 euros per MWh.

The RES auction for wind energy units will be open to small-scale units of up to 6 MW. A total of 100 MW will be offered at a starting price of 83 euros per MWh.

New RES spatial framework identifying wind energy areas

An energy ministry committee working on Greece’s updated spatial framework for RES facilities, an effort now into its second stage, has been tasked with accurately identifying the country’s Wind Priority Areas (PAP) and Wind Suitability Areas (PAK).

The committee plans to identify these areas in collaboration with the Center for Renewable Energy Sources (KAPE/CRES) and RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, the aim being to redefine exploitable wind energy potential in PAP and PAK areas, a decisive factor for the design of wind energy installations.

The energy ministry intends to consider the inclusion of areas for which strong investment interest concerning RES installations has been expressed.

The current RES spatial framework’s ground coverage limits for PAP and PAK areas, standing at 8 and 5 percent per municipality, respectively, will be adjusted to ensure RES installation capacities in PAP areas are greater than those in corresponding PAK areas.

As for the solar energy sub-sector, revisions to be considered by the committee include reducing the maximum soil coverage of PVs on farmland to 3 percent per region.

Furthermore, the revised framework’s new regulations for offshore wind farms will need to be adjusted to accurately reflect those of the National Offshore Wind Farm Development Program. This initiative will be conducted in cooperation with EDEYEP, the Hellenic Hydrocarbons and Energy Resources Management Company.

Delivery of the updated RES spatial framework has been given a deadline extension until the end of March, 2024, based on a recent energy ministry decision.