EBRD reports close to €800 million investment in Greece in 2020

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) stepped up its investments in Greece in 2020 to address immediate needs caused by the coronavirus pandemic and to create the foundations for a recovery with a focus on building back better economies.

Continuing its support for the Greek economy in 2020, the Bank made €797 million new investments in 17 projects, compared to €571 million in 13 projects in 2019, putting Greece in the EBRD’s top five countries of investment last year. 

Andreea Moraru, EBRD Director for Greece, said: “We are very proud to contribute to the robust response of the Greek economy to the crisis, supporting the recovery, helping local businesses with their needs and facilitating the transition to greener economic activities.” 

The Bank provided a senior unsecured loan of up to €160 million power utility PPC. The facility will support PPC’s working capital needs at a time of customer payment volatility following the outbreak of the crisis. It will also strengthen the resilience of the electricity sector as a whole by ensuring the stability of essential utility supplies and maintaining the momentum towards decarbonization. 

The EBRD also stepped up its efforts to help the Greek private sector by investing €57.5 euros in GEK TERNA’s successful issuance of a seven-year €500 million bond. GEK TERNA S.A. is the holding company for a group active in concessions, renewable energy, thermal energy and construction, incorporated in Greece. 

This issuance was the largest bond transaction to be listed to date on the Athens Stock Exchange and the first corporate issuance in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic. The proceeds will be used to refinance secured commercial loans with longer tenors and reduced financing costs, enabling a corporate transformation that will optimize the capital structure of GEK TERNA. 

Facilitating the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, EBRD launched its just transition initiative linking the transition to a low-carbon economy with inclusive economic development. One of the first projects under this approach was the Bank’s €75 million investment in the successful Eurobond tap issuance by Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), in support of a new solar photovoltaic plant in Greece, the largest solar energy project in south-eastern Europe to date. 

The total funds of €100 million raised will enable ELPE to finance the construction of 18 solar photovoltaic (PV) plants with a total installed capacity of 204 MW in Kozani, western Macedonia, the country’s most coal-dependent region. The solar park will be built close to existing coal-fired power plants that are being phased out and is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 320,000 tons annually.

In addition, the EBRD invested €50 million in the first senior preferred (SP) green bond issuance by the National Bank of Greece (NBG), combining support for capital market development and for the green economy in Greece. It was the first green bond issuance by a Greek bank and the first SP instrument to be issued by a Greek financial institution. 

Together with other investors, the EBRD invested in a €186.4 million securitization transaction of automotive leases, originated by Olympic Commercial and Tourist Enterprises S.A. (Avis), the leading car leasing company in Greece and master franchisee of the global car rental company Avis Budget Group.  

The transaction was an important milestone for the Greek securitization market as it was the largest issuance by a non-bank originator and the first auto lease asset-backed security transaction in the country with a sustainable and green element. 

Part of the proceeds will be used by Avis for the replacement of its existing fleet with lower CO2 emissions, electric and hybrid vehicles, helping the company to reduce its diesel footprint.

In late 2020, the EBRD joined forces with the Ministry of Development and Investments of Greece to establish a new public-private partnership (PPP) preparation facility cooperation account, following a request from the Greek authorities. 

The EBRD will manage the facility, which will provide high-quality, client-oriented project preparation, training and advisory services, policy support and institutional strengthening activities related to the infrastructure sector in Greece. The Ministry will fund the activities of the facility with €20 million. The project pipeline will mostly be in the social infrastructure sector (education and health), sustainable urban infrastructure, and water and waste management.

Keeping vital trade flows going, the Bank provided a €20 million factoring facility to ABC Factors under its Trade Facilitation Program (TTP). Building on the EBRD’s cooperation with Alpha Bank, the parent company of ABC Factors, the facility will enable the factoring subsidiary to further expand its portfolio of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local corporate clients by providing funding for domestic and international factoring transactions. Greece remains the EBRD’s most active country under TFP, with close to €320 million trade transactions in 2020.  

In 2020, the EBRD started 41 new advisory projects with Greek SMEs in various areas, such as strategic and business planning, marketing and e-commerce, operational efficiency, financial management and digitalization, and delivered five online export training seminars to more than 100 participants. Donor funding from Greece, as well as from the European Union through the European Investment Advisory Hub of the European Investment Bank, has been crucial. 

Papoutsanis, a leading Greek manufacturer of soap and liquid cosmetics, became the first Greek firm to join the EBRD’s Blue Ribbon program, which combines business advice and finance for companies that stand out for their market leadership and high-growth potential. 

Furthermore, the Board of Directors of the EBRD approved a new strategy for Greece, which will guide the bank’s investment and policy engagement in the country during the next five years. 

The EBRD responded to the coronavirus pandemic with record investment of €11 billion in 2020 through 410 projects. This represents a 10 per cent increase in annual business investment relative to 2019, when the bank provided €10.1 billion to finance 452 projects.

Brussels RES tool to promote member-state collaboration

A financing mechanism adopted by the European Commission to financially support new RES projects and facilitate synergies, at financial and technical levels, between EU member states is moving closer to actualization.

Late in 2020, the European Commission established a related platform and invited EU member states to express interest in the mechanism either as hosts or contributors.

According to the mechanism’s plan, contributing member states will be able to invest in RES projects in other countries. This prospect will enable contributors to become involved in projects offering greater financial returns, compared to those of domestic projects, and also invest through RES technologies that cannot be implemented at home. For example, landlocked countries will be able to invest in offshore wind farms and countries with minimal sunshine will be able to invest in solar farms.

On the other hand, member states hosting projects linked to the new mechanism stand to benefit from improved energy supply and security, grid upgrades, investments and job creation.

Also, RES output generated by projects linked to the new mechanism is planned to be equally divided by participating states, contributing to their respective energy and climate targets.

The European Commission is currently examining the prospect of also opening up this initiative to private-sector firms. Brussels, gauging the level of investment interest, has invited private-sector companies to express their interest in the mechanism by February 15.

The private sector is playing a crucial role in successfully promoting RES projects in the EU, Brussels pointed out in a statement.

METKA winning bidder for PPC Renewables 200-MW solar farm

PPC Renewables has named METKA as the winning bidder of a tender for the development of a 200-MW solar farm in the country’s north, in the west Macedonia region.

PPC Renewables’ most ambitious project to date, it constitutes the third and largest section of a 230-MW solar energy complex.

Swift development of this third section is expected as PPC Renewables has already secured the project’s financing needs from a group of Greek banks.

Construction of the project, to be equipped with bifacial panels and trackers, is expected to commence in March.

As for the 230-MW solar energy project’s two smaller sections, both 15 MW, one is nearing completion while construction work at the other is in progress.

PPC Renewables, a subsidiary of power utility PPC, is also moving ahead with a tender for a 50-MW solar energy project in Megalopoli, Peloponnese. Bids submitted by five major groups, Greek and foreign, seeking this project’s development contract have been opened.

The Megalopoli solar farm is planned to be Greece’s first RES project that will not participate in RES auctions for tariffs. Instead, PPC Renewables intends to establish two-way contracts through the target model framework.

Over the next 24 months, PPC Renewables plans to begin developing projects with a total capacity of 500 MW, which would put the company on track towards achieving an installed-capacity target of 1.5 GW by 2024.

Parent company PPC’s updated business plan includes investments totaling 3.4 billion euros by 2023, 34 percent of these in the renewable energy sector. PPC is aiming for a fivefold increase in RES output, from 0.3 to 1.6 TWh.

PPC Renewables, possessing the country’s biggest RES portfolio following its latest moves and plans, may utilize some of its RES licenses for joint ventures with Germany’s RWE. Recent meetings between the two sides have increased the likelihood of a partnership.

PV market faces severe shortage, higher prices and shipping costs

Solar panel supply has dried up in the Greek market, as is also the case throughout Europe, creating difficulties for PV investors, big and small, who are seeking to develop solar parks ahead of RES auction deadlines or to secure non-auction tariffs.

The solar panel market shortage has been attributed to a significant increase in PV installations, both globally as well as in China, essentially the world’s sole PV producer.

Investors already committed to tariff contracts are subject to major solar panel delivery delays, while others now making efforts to purchase equipment needed to develop their solar parks are unable to find delivery dates any sooner than the third quarter of 2021.

Besides the market shortage of solar panels, shipping containers from China have also been hard to come by, possibly as a result of a sharp increase in the trade of electronic goods during the pandemic, prompting higher transportation costs.

Solar panel prices have also risen considerably, compared to levels last summer, which has caused business plan issues for prospective green-energy producers.

China has announced a five-year PV installation plan to run at an annual rate of 65 GW from 2021 to 2025. Also, global PV demand is soon expected to reach 200 GW, annually.

Quite clearly, solar panel production, for the time being, cannot meet demand. This shortage is expected to last until at least the end of the first half in 2021.

 

 

 

PPC Renewables portfolio boosted by 1.9 GW in producer certificates

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has granted PPC Renewables producer certificates for a total capacity of 1.9 GW, a pivotal step in the power utility PPC subsidiary’s effort to realize its ambitious investment plan. It features the installation of major-scale solar energy parks in north Greece’s west Macedonia region, facing a post-lignite transition.

A proportion of these new producer certificates, which elevate PPC Renewables into a major PV market player, could be utilized for state-controlled PPC’s planned collaboration with Germany’s RWE. A prospective partnership between the two sides appears near, recent meetings between the two sides have indicated.

The establishment of this partnership is close to being finalized, energy minister Costis Hatzidakis told Parliament yesterday, confirming an energypress report.

PPC and RWE signed a memorandum of understanding last March. A team of RWE officials then visited lignite fields in the west Macedonia region. Ensuing talks have since intensified. A finalized agreement by the end of the year has not been ruled out.

PPC Renewables is already developing two key PV projects, a 230-MW solar energy facility in Ptolemaida, northern Greece, and a 50-MW solar park in Megalopoli, Peloponnese.

Development of about 15 MW of the Ptolemaida project and a high-voltage sub-station are expected to be ready around January. Construction of a further 15 MW is already in progress, while work on the project’s additional 200 MW is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2021.

As for the Megalopoli project, PPC Renewables is currently staging a tender offering a construction contract. Five major foreign and Greek groups have submitted bids.

Terms soon for last mixed RES auction to be staged under old framework

A ministerial decision on the terms, conditions and scheduling of one last mixed RES auction for solar and wind energy capacities to be held under the current legal framework is expected within the next few days.

A capacity of 350 MW will be offered to the auction’s participants early in 2021. It remains unclear if the capacity on offer will be evenly distributed for the solar and wind energy sectors.

Once the ministerial decision is delivered, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will officially announce the auction.

Investors will be given more time than usual to obtain supporting documents needed for auction participation as a result of the extraordinary lockdown-induced conditions, sources informed.

The session’s 350 MW to be offered represents the remaining capacity from auctions in 2020.

The energy ministry has submitted an application to the EU for an extension of competitive procedures concerning RES projects until 2024.

The new auction model is expected to incorporate improvements based on increased competition through more active target model participation and price reductions benefiting consumers, while also ensuring a clear-cut framework for RES producers.

JinkoSolar sole PV firm given top rating for credit quality in Chinese market

JinkoSolar, one of the largest and most innovative solar module manufacturers in the world, is the sole PV company to be given the highest AAA rating for credit quality in the Chinese market, the company has announced in a statement.

This highest rating stands as recognition of market quality credit management capabilities and levels of a company, through a comprehensive evaluation of company credit, quality assurance capabilities, market operation capabilities and other
indicators, conducted by the China Association for Quality (CAQ).

With this recognition, JinkoSolar sets a new company milestone and benchmark for the rest of the PV industry in terms of user satisfaction and quality management, it noted in the statement.

Leveraging the company’s leading intelligent manufacturing process and product quality, JinkoSolar has become a highly respected name in the global PV industry, it added.

JinkoSolar has been awarded numerous international quality certifications, and its outstanding reputation has contributed to
positioning Chinese manufacturers as some of the most dominant players in the global PV industry beyond China.

Based on its product innovation, supply stability and a well-established global service network, JinkoSolar has been ranked first in terms of global shipments for four consecutive years.

“We will continue to focus on the R&D of our core technologies, and upgrade and optimize production lines to improve the quality of our PV products,” said Kangping Chen, Chief
Executive Officer of JinkoSolar. “In order to further promote development towards grid parity, we will focus our efforts on product iteration and continue to bring premium quality products to our global customers that will reduce costs and improve system efficiency. In the future, we will continue to assume the responsibility of a leading PV company, bringing to
market more optimized PV products, and strongly support the global transformation to clean and green energy and drive the high-quality development of the global solar industry.”

JinkoSolar 182mm module, offering advantages, the mainstream choice

The JinkoSolar 182mm module will be the mainstream choice thanks to the advantages in low power loss, better compatibility, cost optimization scheme and better reliability, the company has asserted.  

With the arrival of the photovoltaic comprehensive parity era, how to minimize LCOE becomes the main concern for the PV industry. To some extent, improving the power generation by increasing the size of PV module has become a sort of consensus in PV industry. How can standardized large-size modules reduce the cost of the whole industrial chain in the development process of grid parity or grid at a low price?

Recently, JinkoSolar, Longi and JA Solar jointly held the conference “Customer Value Focused – Advanced PV Technology for Better LCOE” and had an in-depth discussion with industry experts and industrial chain partners. An internal agreement has been achieved in the conference that 182mm modules will achieve more marketing opportunities.

The High Reliability of JinkoSolar 182mm Modules

Through a large number of reliability tests, 182mm modules demonstrated to have a proven high reliability in production process. During process of cost reduction and power promotion, how can 182mm size ensure the module reliability? Leo Yu, Senior Manager of Global Product Management at JinkoSolar CO. Ltd., commented: “The excellent results of 182mm modules under the extended IEC reliability test showed that thanks to 182 modules the entire power plant can maintain a regular operational performance in the period of our warranty, ensuring the PV project profitability.”

JinkoSolar understands that the power plant system has high requirements for module power warranty, which will have a direct impact on the plant revenue. Great module reliability can effectively ensure long-term stable power generation performance and the excellent power warranty of 182mm module can meet the requirement of clients. Leo Yu said: “JinkoSolar ensures 2% degradation for the first year and 0.45% from the second to the thirtieth year. With regards to mechanical loading, working temperature and risk of hot spots, the 182mm module is proved to be a product with a long-life cycle.”

The significant power generation loss reduction of 182mm module

182mm and 210mm modules have been well known in the market as large-size high-power modules. Compared to 210mm panels, 182mm modules can significantly reduce the power generation loss which is also caused by cable loss and operating temperature. As the experts said, the reverse current control will have a great impact on the hot spot temperature of the module. So, the strict quality control will also enable 182mm products s to have long-term excellent reliability.

The guarantee of 182mm module delivery

182mm panel has been proved to have great delivery reliability in terms of the module size and the adaptability during the installation.

For the transportation of 182mm modules, the risk of crack and breakage would be increased with a larger module size. The lodging risk would also be increased during the vertical container transshipment. Module manufacturers did the module reliability test and transportation reliability test after unifying the width of 182mm module as around 1130mm, which is determined by the height of the container door, to ensure that there would be no problem during large batch transportations.

Furthermore, the industry data has pointed out that the container utilization ratio of 182mm module is better than 158/166 module’s. For 182mm modules, the loading capacity in each container could be 10-20% more than the average and the relative capacity could be increased by over 15%. With regards to the installation of 182mm panels, the module size and weight unified by panel manufacturers make the whole installation process of 182mm module possible to be handled by only two workers.

Excellent system compatibility of 182mm module

The compatibility of 182mm modules has gotten a lot of affirmation. Nowadays, many inverter suppliers have already started the volume production of compatible products for 182mm modules. Chris Gan, Solution Technical Director, Smart PV Sales & Services Dept, at Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., mentioned that: “Huawei Smart PV 196kW inverter, which we launched this year, could be fully adapted to 182mm modules.” Meanwhile, Tiger Zhang, Vice President at Sungrow Renewable Energy SCI.& Tech CO., Ltd. has introduced the group series inverters, centralized inverter and combiner boxes which could match 182mm modules.

Concerning the mounting system, many module mounting suppliers can offer products compatible with 182mm modules. Eric Kuo, Director of Technical Product Management at Nextracker Inc. said: “The situation that mainstream mounting products were designed to match 156&158mm modules has already been changed. Since last year, more and more modules have changed size. As a tracer supplier, we always cooperate with the whole PV industry to do products iteration and update. For example, this time we have already developed a product which could match 182mm panels, but we will be ready to promptly provide the best solutions for new products in the future.” Huang Chunlin, Deputy General Manager of New Energy Engineering Institute at Huadong Engineering Corporation Limited pointed out that the compatibility and the technology of mounting systems for 182mm modules, especially tracker system, are highly reliable in areas with high wind speeds.

Low power cost optimization scheme of 182mm module

182mm module has gradually realized mass production and become the lowest power cost optimization scheme in the market by the advantage of high reliability, high production efficiency, great auxiliary material supply and high power generation.

First of all, the reduction of power generation losses caused by cable loss and working temperature demonstrates the advantages of 182 modules in cost reducing. Leo Yu, Senior Manager of Global Product Management at JinkoSolar, mentioned that “182mm modules can reduce the cable loss by 0.21% compared with 210mm modules. This will have a great impact on the entire power plant. A reduction of 0.21% on cable loss will increase the IRR by 0.15% and reduce the LCOE by 0.21% during operation of power plant. The working temperature of the 210mm module is 6 degrees higher than that of the 182mm module. The resulting power generation loss reached nearly 2%, and this 2% needs to be made up by 0.1 yuan/watt from EPC cost.”

The mounting system cost counts 19% of the EPC costs, which means that a change in mounting system cost will have a great impact on the BOS costs. In the term of tracker cost, the longest length designed by mainstream mounting system manufacturers is about 100 meters. The 182mm module can be connected up to 3 strings on each track and the length is about 96 meters, and the 210mm module cannot achieve that length. The cost of tracker control system with the 182mm modules can be reduced by 0.015 yuan/W compared with the 210 modules, since 210mm module cannot achieve the maximum length which can be supported by the tracker.

Moreover, 182mm modules have also significant advantages in terms of labor and transportation costs. The labor cost is divided into three parts, which are cost of tracks installation, trenching and field leveling costs. By measuring, for 120MW DC project in A class of light resource areas in China, the difference of labor cost between 210mm module and 182mm module is about RMB 800,000. In terms of transportation, compared with 158mm/166mm module, the wattage and utilization rate of each container of 182mm modules is higher, and the average wattage of a single container can be increased by 10%-20%.

In general, as a mature PV product, 182mm module has become the mainstream choice among clients of PV module market thanks to great advantages such as low cable loss, low internal loss and many others.

 

Small fraction of PV connection term applications making cut

Just a fraction of RES connection term applications result in installed capacity as one in three applications for small-to-medium solar energy projects are being approved, on average, according to unofficial data provided by regional authorities of distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO.

RES market players are well aware of this high percentage of rejections, and, as such, consider recent energy ministry measures affecting 500-KW PV projects and energy community projects to be unacceptable.

Worse still, the lockdown’s impact on public services has made it more difficult for RES investors to obtain necessary supporting documents from regional services, forestry authorities and other agencies in order to submit complete connection term applications to DEDDIE/HEDNO as well as power grid operator IPTO by an approaching December 31 deadline.

The combined effect of the aforementioned factors is causing a significant contraction of the small-to-medium solar energy market, sector officials have noted.

DEDDIE/HEDNO has requested more flexible operating terms, in terms of geographical jurisdiction, from the energy ministry to hasten its processing ability. At present, the operator examines connection term applications on a broad regional level but also wants more control at a narrower provincial level.

This would effectively enable swifter approval of connection term applications by RES investors in provinces where capacity is available. Investors would be spared of bureaucratic processing at a regional level.

Speaking at a recent energypress conference, a DEDDIE/HEDNO official noted the operator estimates all connection term applications it has received will have been processed by next summer.

 

Survey Digital Photovoltaics investments progressing

Survey Digital Photovoltaics Single Shareholder SA recently received a production certificate from RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, for 125 MW from its privately owned portfolio of 500 MW, the company announced in a statement. These are the following projects:

  1. PV Unit 6,000.96kW at the location “Kalamitis” of the Municipality of Thebes in the Prefecture of Viotia.
  2. PV Unit 6,360.44kW at the location “Paliodendros” of the Municipality of Aktio-Vonitsa in the prefecture of Etoloakarnania.
  3. PV Unit 9,999.00kW at the location “Koumaries” area Agios Ioannis, Municipality of Katerini, Prefecture of Pieria.
  4. PV Unit 44,645.00kW at the location “Yangova” area Arnaia, Municipality of Aristotle, Prefecture of Chalkidiki.
  5. PV Unit 58,437.72kW at the location “Yangova” area Arnaia, Municipality of Aristotle, Prefecture of Chalkidiki.

The company has secured for its entire approved portfolio the financing of the investments by Alpha Bank, while the permitting of the projects is performed with company’s own funds and with signed pre-lease-purchase agreements for the land plots. The entire permitting process (environmental and grid connection terms) is expected to be completed by April 2021.

The company’s target is the participation of these first projects in the RAE tenders for locking a guaranteed price within 2021, with the start of the construction of the projects and the relevant interconnection networks from the summer of 2021.

It is worth noting that Survey Digital Photovoltaics Single Shareholder SA is a company of purely Greek interests, with strong extroversion and vast experience in the photovoltaic sector. The company has been active in the sector since 2006.

For more information, visit the company website www.survey-digital.com, or contact through the social media (www.linkedin.com/company/survey-digital, www.facebook.com/SurveyDigitalPhotovoltaics, www.instagram.com/surveydigitalphotovoltaics).

 

Environmental terms for RES licenses ‘still tough’, investors note

Contrary to popular opinion, recently ratified environmental impact licensing rules remain strict for renewable energy investors despite upper-limit capacity increases for wind and solar energy installations, sector officials have pointed out in comments to energypress.

Last August, the energy ministry increased the upper-limit capacity for Category B wind energy installations from 5 MW to 10 MW and Category B solar energy installations from 2 MW to 10 MW.

Investors behind Category B projects do not need to provide environmental impact studies but must meet predetermined environmental terms and all related terms included in a ministerial decision implemented back in January, 2013.

“It is not true that investors merely submit statements declaring that their projects do not have environmental impact, as has been generally said,” a sector official explained. “Investors must observe specific environmental terms and submit studies and data required by the ministerial decision from 2013,” the official added.

Special Ecological Assessments must be conducted for projects planned for protected Natura areas. Also, bird fauna studies must be included in investment applications for Special Protection Zones.

Furthermore, the ministry has advised licensing authorities to be particularly careful when examining project applications slicing big RES projects into a series of smaller projects as a means of simplifying licensing procedures. Such practices need to be stopped, the ministry has stressed.

PV panel market shortage, higher prices affecting investors

Greece’s solar panel market, reflecting challenging sector conditions that have emerged throughout Europe, faces severe shortages and price increases of between 15 and 20 percent, compared to just a few weeks ago.

The challenging situation has led to major project delays. Investors holding purchase agreements for PV equipment are being delayed by weeks for their order arrivals, while others still working on agreements cannot find suppliers offering anything better than delivery by May, 2021, at the earliest.

Some buyers requiring just small orders of solar panels have been lucky enough to land agreements as a result of order cancellations and other irregularities, but, in general, the shortage is prevalent.

Though the adverse conditions are impacting all PV investors, small-scale players are particularly feeling the pinch as they face deadlines to secure tariffs through non-competitive administrative decisions. Making matters worse, the energy ministry has indicated it will reduce non-auction tariff prices.

Pundits have attributed the shortage of PV panels to a significant increase in the number of installations at an international level, including China, nowadays virtually the world’s only producer of solar panels.

Chinese officials have announced a plan to aim for the installment of 65 GW of PV systems, annually, over a five-year period beginning in 2021.

Quite clearly, current PV panel production levels cannot meet global demand. This squeeze is expected to continue until at least the end of the first half of 2021.

Demand for glass has increased as bifacial PV panels now dominate the market, but the pharmaceutical industry, also absorbing large quantities of glass, has priority amid the pandemic.

The sharp increase in the demand for glass has prompted a price increase, for this material, of as much as 71 percent.

GoodWe launches GoodWe PLUS+ including 10-year warranty extension

Following its IPO, GoodWe Europe has announced plans to launch its EMEA-wide PV installer program aimed at consolidating professional PV training and after-sales service under its new GoodWe PLUS+ initiative, the company has announced.

Participating installers will benefit from exclusive training, as well as a warranty extension to 10 years for all on-grid inverters up to 20 kW at no extra cost, the company noted.

The move has been well received in the PV industry and has “attracted the attention of well-established solar professionals” said Ali Bouattour, Technical Director of GoodWe Europe GmbH.

Asked about the purpose of the initiative, Managing Director Thomas Haering stated: “We take great pride in crafting and developing sophisticated solar technology and delivering unparalleled customer service. We have great confidence in our product and want PV installers to feel they have the full support of a world-class brand”.

GoodWe, one of the leading brands of solar inverters, has turned 2020 into a success story, with its IPO on the Shanghai Stock Market, its Global Call Centre, new Global Headquarters and its recent expansion in the utility segment.

The Suzhou-based manufacturer currently occupies the top spot in Wood Mackenzie’s global ranking of hybrid inverter suppliers with a 15% global market share and is expected to bring new technology to add to its existing portfolio in 2021.

GoodWe, a leading global enterprise which focuses on research and manufacturing of PV inverters and energy storage solutions, possesses an accumulative installation of 16 GW installed in more than 80 countries.

GoodWe solar inverters have been largely used in residential and commercial rooftops, industrial and utility scale systems, ranging from 0.7kW to 250kW.

GoodWe inverters offer reliable operation and outstanding performance and are well recognized by customers worldwide. GoodWe’s philosophy is to create partnerships with customers by identifying and integrating the most advanced components and techniques available while offering an unparalleled after-sales service.

Technological innovation is GoodWe’s main core competence. With an in-house R&D team of approximately 200 employees in two R&D centers, GoodWe can offer a comprehensive portfolio of products and solutions for residential, commercial and utility scale PV systems, ensuring that performance and quality go hand-in-hand across the entire range.

GoodWe has set up an integrated service system for pre-sales, in-sales and after-sales and has established service centres worldwide, aiming to offer global support to all customers including project consulting, technical training, on-site support and after-sales service.

RAE nearly done with processing for backlog of RES license applications

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is close to completing its processing effort for a backlog of some 1,400 RES license applications representing approximately 24 GW in wind and, primarily, solar projects.

RAE’s processing of a backlog of applications submitted during four cycles from September, 2018 to June, 2019 has been completed, while the authority’s examination of applications submitted in September, 2019 is expected to be completed within the next few days, sources informed.

Once RAE officials complete their processing of last September’s applications, they will begin work on applications submitted last December, which should result in the completion of processing work for the entire backlog by the end of this month, officials have estimated.

A small fraction of the RES license applications submitted during the four cycles between September, 2018 to June, 2019 were rejected. More specifically, of 811 applications examined by the energy authority, 246 were granted production licenses for 1.522 GW in wind energy projects and 430 investment plans were given licenses for 6.2 GW in solar projects.

Meanwhile, public consultation staged by RAE for new rules concerning producer certificates in the RES and combined heat and power (CHP) domains has been completed.

A new platform being developed by RAE for producer certificates will be simple, safe and transparent, and also linked to platforms operated by other entities, including DAPEEP, the RES market operator, so that applications may be swiftly processed, authority officials have informed.

DEPA Commercial invites RES companies for collaboration

DEPA Commercial, one of two new entities formed by gas utility DEPA for its upcoming privatization, has invited renewable energy companies with existing production units or advanced projects to express interest in prospective collaborations.

DEPA Commercial is aiming to transform into an energy company with emphasis on green energy activities, chief executive Costas Xifaras has noted.

According to sources, DEPA Commercial is looking to develop a RES portfolio totaling 240 MW.

Related investments at DEPA Commercial are expected to reach 120 million euros, the company head has stated.

DEPA Commercial, interested in both solar and wind energy projects, is looking to acquire RES production licenses and, especially, mature-stage projects, sources informed, adding the company is seriously considering takeovers.

For the time being, DEPA Commercial does not intend to partner with energy groups active in the RES market as well as the company’s privatization procedure.

Besides its plan to expand into the RES market, DEPA Commercial, currently developing major LNG projects, is also exploring the possibility of entering the hydrogen sector.

DEDDIE wants PV connection-term review rules revised for swifter results

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO has decided to push for a revision of evaluation criteria concerning connection term applications for solar energy projects following talks with sector professionals, the objective being to unblock thousands of project applications by next summer.

The operator is expected to forward to the energy ministry during the week – if it has not done so already – its proposal for revisions to a related ministerial decision implemented last March concerning prioritization and assessment methods for connection-term applications.

The proposed revisions would give DEDDIE/HEDNO flexibility to also examine applications on a more localized scale, at municipal level, not just on a bigger provincial level, as is the case at present.

In other words, DEDDIE/HEDNO wants connection-term application decisions to be based on the availability of grid capacity at a municipal level, as opposed to requiring investors to wait in line for approval by provincial authorities.

If the operator’s proposed changes are implemented, then thousands of PV connection-term applications could be processed, for approval or rejection, over the next ten or so months.

Current rules have prompted an accumulation of these applications at DEDDIE/HEDNO.

Ellaktor, EDPR form alliance seeking greater RES market penetration

The Ellaktor group and EDP Renewables, both aiming for swifter and deeper RES market penetration, have established a strategic partnership following talks that began last summer.

The two companies plan to invest one billion euros over the next four to five years for the development of wind farms with a total capacity of 900 MW, sources have informed.

EDP Renewables was driven towards forming this partnership by the belief that its existing Greek portfolio of licenses, offering a capacity of 152 MW accumulated through RES auctions staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, would be insufficient to secure investment opportunities in the country.

The Ellaktor group, holding a RES portfolio of 460 MW, is looking to further bolster its position in the renewable energy market.

By uniting their portfolios, the two companies believe they will be better positioned for anticipated market changes and opportunities.

Ellaktor stands to also benefit from resulting access into lower-cost capital markets.

The plans of the two partners include development of two wind farms with a total capacity of 436.8 MW in central and southern parts of the island Evia, slightly northeast of Athens. The two firms have acquired licenses for these projects from other companies.

A further 460 MW will be developed from a portfolio of existing licenses. These licenses are not linked with Ellaktor’s portfolio of wind parks already operating.

Ellaktor already holds a total of 26 RES projects, all operating. They are comprised of 24 wind energy farms with a total capacity of 484 MW, one small-scale hydropower plant (5 MW) and one solar energy farm (2 MW), offering a total installed capacity of 491 MW.

JinkoSolar to supply 204 MW of modules to juwi Hellas for major Kozani unit

JinkoSolar, one of the largest and most innovative solar module manufacturers in the world, has signed a module supply agreement for a project in Kozani, northern Greece, to be developed by juwi Hellas Renewable Energy Sources S.A., JinkoSolar has announced in a statement.

Construction of the solar park is scheduled to commence in November 2020, and will use 204 MW of Swan bifacial modules with transparent backsheet from DuPont, according to the statement.

Frank Niendorf, General Manager of JinkoSolar Europe, commented: “We are delighted that juwi Hellas, one of the most professional and experienced EPC companies, globally, has once again placed its trust in the superior quality and reliable performance of our solar modules for this impressive new project in Greece. The Kozani project will become Europe’s benchmark for renewable energy in terms of competitively priced and subsidy-free solar power. It is also one of the largest utility scale projects ever built in Europe to use bifacial modules and JinkoSolar is very proud to be a part of such a milestone.”

Dimitris Varlamis, JinkoSolar Head of Sales for South Eastern Europe, noted: “We are proud to contribute to this emblematic project which is by far the biggest solar project in Greece and one of the five largest projects in Europe featuring our high performance bifacial modules.”

Takis Sarris, Managing Director of juwi Hellas, commented: “juwi is launching a new era for PV in Greece, that of utility scale projects that subsidize instead of being subsidized, and bringing clean energy to the Greek consumer at very low prices. We are very proud that we have managed to fully develop such an important project for the country”.

PPC to offer lignite-dependent area residents 5% stakes in solar farms

Power utility PPC intends to offer residents of lignite-dependent areas in Greece stakes totaling 5 percent in solar farm projects planned by the company as part of its decarbonization strategy, chief executive Giorgos Stassis disclosed in an interview published by Greek daily Kathimerini yesterday.

PPC plans to develop and operate solar farms with a total capacity of 2.5 GW in west Macedonia, northern Greece, and Megalopoli, in the Peloponnese, both lignite-dependent economies.

Besides creating jobs through these investments, PPC plans to offer locals the opportunity to invest in the power utility by acquiring shares for total stakes of 5 percent, Stassis noted.

Through this procedure, residents will join PPC in its investments and enjoy the exact same returns as the company, he said.

“I want to underline the annual investment return on these investments will range between 8 and 10 percent, at a time when deposit interest rates are almost negative,” Stassis said. The offer will be restricted to decarbonization-area residents, he added.

Commenting on local resistance against prospective RES installations, especially on islands, Stassis noted: “Islanders who, for years, have enjoyed low-cost electricity generated in Megalopoli and Ptolemaida at a cost for the environment and human lives, cannot object turbine installations on islands for production of electricity they will consume now that lignite-fired generation has become ultra-expensive and is being abandoned.”

RES groups want rule changes to enable repowering, offering yield boosts

Renewable energy associations and investors have called for legal and regulatory framework revisions that would facilitate repowering, or the replacement of old RES equipment at wind and solar energy parks with upgraded modern technology offering far higher yields.

Prime RES locations around Greece are occupied by installations that date back ten to 20 years and are producing yields well below the potential promised by modern technology.

Aristotelis Hantavas, Enel Green Power’s head official for Europe and president of the Solar Power Europe association, spoke extensively on the matter at a recent industry conference.

“If repowering is facilitated, the country can, in a short period of time, cover one third or possibly half of the ground that remains to be covered to reach the 2030 goal without needing to open up many new wind and solar energy areas, a development that prompts reaction by local authorities, amongst others,” Hantavas pointed out.

The installation of modern wind and solar energy systems in place of older technologies could boost yields by up to three times, experts believe.

This does not necessarily mean investors will secure fixed tariffs as remuneration for any additional capacity installed. RES sector officials believe remuneration will still be based on older agreements for the remainder of their terms.

Once existing contracts have expired, investors should expect to be remunerated for any additional capacity offered by their upgrades through target model markets.

According to current regulations, capacity increases at sites hosting existing solar or wind energy parks are limited to 10 percent.

Also, investors are not permitted to sell RES output through more than one market channel, for example, through tariffs for one part of production and two-way agreements for the rest.

Repowering is currently being widely discussed around Europe, especially in countries with extended renewable energy backgrounds.

 

Microsoft Athens data centers to promote big PV self-production

The energy needs of three data centers being planned by Microsoft at three separate facilities in the wider Athens area will almost exclusively be provided by large-scale solar energy systems, energypress sources have informed.

The initiative promises to pave the way for large-scale solar energy self-consumption, virtually non-existent in Greece at present.

An exact calculation of the solar energy capacity to be required by the Microsoft facilities is currently not possible as details on the size of this American investment have yet to be released.

Without a doubt, the energy capacity to be required at these Microsoft facilities will be big.

At present, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s rooftop hosts the country’s biggest self-consumption solar energy system, whose capacity is 1 MW.

Microsoft’s energy needs will greatly exceed this level as data centers are extremely energy-intensive facilities. On a global scale, it is estimated that data centers, combined, consume one percent of total energy demand.

The majority of self-consumption solar energy systems in Greece are small-scale systems. Legal framework has existed since 2016 but few enterprises have so far entered this domain.

Current regulations in Greece enable enterprises to sell 20 percent of solar energy output to the grid at specific prices.

 

Upper limit for non-auction PV units down from 500 to 200 KW

Local authorities have decided – in a proposal to be forwarded to the European Commission for approval – to lower to 200 KW from 500 KW a capacity upper limit requiring PV projects to participate in RES auctions for tariffs when this limit is exceeded, sources informed.

A satisfactory transitional period will be offered to investors to facilitate the actualization of scheduled RES projects up to 500 KW.

Greek officials expect to have finalized revising local RES auction rules within the next fortnight before submitting a plan to Brussels for an extension of competitive procedures.

Government officials have yet to decide on the duration of the RES auction extension to be requested as well as the total capacities for wind and solar energy to be auctioned.

However, the government officials have already taken initiatives to revise auction terms for greater bidding competition that would lower tariff prices for RES output.

Meanwhile, a prospective draft bill that would secure tariffs for RES units once they have been certified as ready by the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, instead of when electrified, as is the case at present, will take some before being submitted to parliament.

 

 

First look at new ‘Saving at Home’ program imminent, launch long way off

A first impression of the latest Saving at Home subsidy program, supporting energy efficiency upgrades of existing properties, is expected within the next few days, possibly by the end of this week.

The energy ministry is preparing to announce details on categories eligible for the subsidy program, sources said.

Even so, the finalized plan is still be a long way off, the sources added, as numerous details need to be resolved before the subsidy platform can be launched.

Roof-mounted PVs, energy storage systems, smart home systems and electric vehicle recharging facilities will be added to the new program.

It will offer energy efficiency upgrade subsidies of up to 85 percent and be made available to virtually all property owners as income-related criteria will be relaxed. For example, families with annual income totals of as much as 120,000 euros will be eligible.

Greater subsidy amounts will also be made available for applicants following an increase of a previous 25,000-euro upper limit to 50,000 euros.

In addition, home owners with more than one property will be able to submit multiple subsidy applications. In such cases, a subsidy limit of 100,000 euros is expected to be imposed.

The new subsidy package will also include bonus amounts of 10 percent as COVID-19 premiums.

 

Supreme Court avoids ruling on new-deal RES tariff reduction

The Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, has decided, following a three-year procedure, it does not have jurisdiction to rule on a case filed by RES investors in reaction to a significant reduction of their contracted tariffs for solar energy production at existing units, prompted by a so-called new deal in March, 2014, energypress sources have informed.

The court’s decision has not yet been officially announced.

By taking a step back on the tariff-reduction matter, the court will also avoid ruling on the constitutionality of the new deal and its compatibility with European law.

Though the court decision does not vindicate the RES investors, it leaves open the possibility of compensation claims against the State, an option that will be exercised by at least some of the investors who offered comments to energypress.

 

Greece keen to utilize American RES technology; funds eyeing market

The government wants to utilize latest American technology for more recent RES and RES-related domains such as offshore wind farms and energy storage, the energy ministry’s secretary-general Alexandra Sdoukou noted yesterday during a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other US officials in Thessaloniki.

For quite some time now, American renewable energy producers, institutional investors and funds have been scanning the Greek market for RES market opportunities.

A complete framework for offshore wind farms in Greece will be presented early in 2021, Sdoukou pointed out during yesterday’s meeting.

Major offshore wind farm development has been achieved off the American west coast, featuring, like the Mediterranean, waters of sudden depth, ideal conditions for the development of offshore wind farms.

US firms such as Invenergy, one of North America’s biggest wind energy producers; 547 Energy, a RES platform for Quantum Energy Partners; National Energy; and wind energy equipment manufacturer General Electric, have displayed a rising interest in the Greek market.

Besides RES and RES-related companies, a number of American funds are seeking investment opportunities in Greece.

At least ten US funds appear to be keeping a close watch on power utility PPC as a result of the corporation’s strategic turn to renewable energy.

They include Bell Rock Capital, Sephora Investment Advisors, Waterwill Capital Management, Cleargate Capital, Golden Tree Asset Management, Helm Investment Partners, Knighthead Capital Management, Craftsman Management, Colt Capital Partners and Kirkoswald Αsset Μanagement.

 

 

 

 

 

Jinko posts big Q2 increase in module shipments

Jinko’s module shipments in the second quarter increased significantly compared with the first quarter, despite the negative impact caused by the global pandemic, Q2 2020 financial results just released by the company have shown. 

Strategic Business Updates:

  • Module shipments in the second quarter increased significantly compared with the first quarter, despite the negative impact caused by the global pandemic.
  • Large-area N-Type monocrystalline silicon solar cell reached a record high efficiency of 24.79%.
  • Demand and deployment of large-size modules exceeded expectations. The company recently launched its Tiger Pro N-type large-size module products with maximum power output of up to 610 W.
  • Industry consolidation is accelerating due to increased competition in a challenging economic environment. Module shipments of the top five module manufacturers are expected to account for 65% to 70% of the total shipments in the industry this year.
  • Announced the plan to list the Company’s principal operating subsidiary Jiangxi Jinko on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Sci-Tech innovation board, or the STAR Market.

Second Quarter 2020 Operational and Financial Highlights

  • Total solar module shipments were 4,469 megawatts (“MW”), within JinkoSolar’s guidance range of 4.2 GW to 4.5 GW, an increase of 31.0% from 3,411 MW in the first quarter of 2020 and an increase of 32.0% from 3,386 MW in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Solar Products Production Capacity – as of June 30, 2020, the Company’s in-house annual mono wafer, solar cell and solar module production capacity was 20 GW,  11GW (10.2 GW for PERC cells and 800 MW for N type cells) and 25 GW, respectively.
  • Total revenues were RMB8.45 billion (US$1.20 billion), exceeding JinkoSolar’s guidance range of US$1.10 billion to US$1.18 billion; a decrease of 0.4% from the first quarter of 2020 and an increase of 22.2% from the second quarter of 2019.
  • Gross margin was 17.9%, within JinkoSolar’s guidance range of 16.0% to 18.0%, compared with 19.5% in the first quarter of 2020 and 16.5% in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Income from operations was RMB434.7 million (US$61.5 million), compared with RMB732.7 million in the first quarter of 2020 and RMB260.3 million in the second quarter of 2019.
  • Net income attributable to the Company’s ordinary shareholders was RMB318.0 million (US$45.0 million) in the second quarter of 2020, compared with RMB282.4 million in the first quarter of 2020 and RMB125.4 million in the second quarter of 2019.

Operations and Business Outlook

  • Strong market demand is expected to continue until the end of the year. COVID-19 has negatively impacted demand and caused substantial challenges across the supply chain, which is expected to further accelerate market consolidation within the industry. The penetration of large-size modules exceed expectations.

Third Quarter and Full Year 2020 Guidance

  • For the third quarter of 2020, the Company expects total solar module shipments to be in the range of 5.0 GW to 5.3 GW. Total revenue for the third quarter is expected to be in the range of US$1.22 billion to US$1.30 billion. Gross margin for the third quarter is expected to be between 17% and 19%.
  • For full year 2020, the Company estimates total solar module shipments to be in the range of 18 GW to 20 GW.

Solar Products Production Capacity

  • JinkoSolar expects its annual mono wafer, solar cell and solar module production capacity to reach 20 GW, 11 GW (including 800 MW N-type cells) and 30 GW, respectively, by the end of 2020