Assessment of June cycle producer certificate bids by end of month

The assessment by RAE, the Regulatory Authority of Energy, of RES production certificate applications submitted to the June cycle is progressing and should be completed by the end of September, energypress sources have informed.

Barring no complications, such as overlapping RES property issues, applicants should receive related emails by early October requesting payment of producer certificate fees to DAPEEP, the RES market operator. Successful applicants will be given 20 day-periods to pay this fee.

A total of 743 applications for RES units representing a total capacity of 17.4 GW were submitted to RAE for the June cycle, the authority has announced. Solar energy units, totaling 302 and representing 12.8 GW, were the cycle’s dominant RES technology, followed by wind energy units, reaching 290 in total for 4.2 GW.

Meanwhile, RAE is preparing to establish a 35,000-euro letter of guarantee as a prerequisite for applications, this measure’s objective being to limit applications to RES investors with serious intentions.

The authority launched a brief public consultation procedure on Friday. It concludes tomorrow, paving the way for the energy ministry’s draft bill for the letter of guarantee measure’s implementation.

 

Longer wait for small-scale PV investors in desaturated areas

Investors behind new small-scale PV units planned for Crete, the Peloponnese, Evia and the Cyclades, now desaturated following recent measures, will need to wait until around November, at least, to submit applications for connection terms as a pending ministerial decision needed for the launch of a DEDDIE/HEDNO distribution network operator platform accepting applications is not expected any sooner than October, energypress sources have informed.

As a result, investors behind small-scale PV units planned for Crete, the Peloponnese, Evia and the Cyclades, areas where RES capacity has become available following a legislative revision ratified in July, will need to wait for a longer period than had been originally announced.

Besides launching the applications platform, the pending ministerial decision will also provide details on letters of guarantee to accompany applications, as well as any other information or supporting documents.

July’s legislative revision made available 86 MW in the Peloponnese, 45 MW in the Cyclades, including 15 MW for net metering, 40 MW in Evia, and 140 MW in Crete, including 40 MW for net metering.

Maximum capacity levels of 400 KW have been set for PV units in these areas, except for Evia, where the limit is 1 MW.

These projects will secure tariffs based on an official price catalogue for non-competitive procedures. The energy ministry does not plan to make any revisions to this price list in the near future, meaning small-scale PVs that are operating or have declared a readiness to operate between March 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022, will secure feed-in tariffs at 63 euros per MWh.

New RES support framework, featuring changes, imminent

The energy ministry appears to have taken initiatives intended to increase capacity quantities offered at RES auctions and also retain national control over the determination of these quantities, depending on developments, given the more ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for the installation of a greater number of RES units, reflecting loftier EU goals, energypress sources have informed.

A draft detailing the new RES support framework for Greece has been finalized following talks between the energy ministry officials and European Commission officials and is now in the hands of the finance ministry’s Central State Aid Unit (KEMKE), responsible for the framework’s official implementation, expected in a few days.

Considerable changes have been made to an initial plan announced by former energy minister Kostis Hatzidakis, not only in terms of the number of auctions to be staged and capacities offered, but also in terms of its overall principles, sources noted.

The new framework makes no mention of an initial Greek proposal for six auctions, each offering 350 MW, for a total of 2.1 GW, but it does call for a capacity of at least 3 GW.

It also includes provisions for geographically based auctions covering areas such as Crete, Evia and the Cyclades, as well as special procedures for small-scale PVs.

In addition, the auctions will not need to be held by 2023 but will be extended until 2025, based on EU directives.

Through the new RES support framework, wind and solar farm energy investors will, through competitive procedures, secure feed-in tariffs for twenty-year periods.

 

 

Mytilineos begins work on PPC Renewables 200-MW solar farm

The Mytilineos group’s Renewables & Storage Development Business Unit (RSD) has begun work on the development of a 200-MW solar farm in Kozani, northern Greece for PPC Renewables, a power utility PPC subsidiary.

The project will be added to two smaller solar PPC Renewables farms, each offering a capacity of 15 MW, which have already been completed by their respective developers, Mytilineos and GEK TERNA, for an overall capacity of 230 MW, Greece’s biggest solar energy facility under construction at present.

Mytilineos was declared preferred bidder last December in a tender staged by PPC Renewables. Parliamentary approval of the agreement in April paved the way for the contract’s finalization and commencement of work.

Mytilineos has been tasked with the design, installation and delivery of the solar farm, as well as its connection with two 150kV-cpaacity substations.

The project’s development cost was reduced to 83.7 million euros through the tender, down roughly 30 percent from an initial budget of 110 million euros, taking the facility’s energy production cost to 42,000 euros per MW, one of the most competitive rates in Europe.

The solar farm, to occupy approximately 500 hectares, will be comprised of bifacial panels with single-axis trackers. The RES facility will have an annual production capacity of 352 GWh, capable of covering the needs of approximately 75,000 households.

PPC Renewables, at a RES auction, has secured a tariff of 49.11 euros per MWh for the project’s output.

The project’s delivery has been given a 42-month period. PPC Renewables is striving to increase its installed RES capacity to 500 MW by the end of 2022.

 

PPC Renewables, RWE joint venture to be launched October

A joint venture agreed to by PPC Renewables and RWE Renewables, respective subsidiaries of Greek power utility PPC and German power company RWE, will be launched in October with the objective of developing solar farms with an overall capacity of up to 2 GW in Greece over the next three to five years. The investment plan is worth over one billion euros.

As previously reported, the two energy groups will each contribute 1 GW in solar parks to the joint venture, with RWE Renewables holding a 51 percent share of the company.

The partners intend to begin developing RES facilities by the first half of next year. PPC Renewables has made progress with licensing procedures for the majority of its projects planned for the western Macedonia region in northern Greece. These prospective units will be included in the joint venture’s portfolio.

The joint venture’s projects are expected to create some 1,000 jobs during development.

 

Non-auction PVs, up to 500 MW, allowed for persons with 2 old projects

A latest legislative revision drafted by the energy ministry permits citizens to install small-scale solar energy systems with capacities of less than 500 MW, even if they have installed two such units in the past, without having to participate in competitive procedures to secure tariffs.

Citizens behind such small-scale PV projects would not be able to compete for auction tariffs against bigger players.

Under previous rules, citizens who had already installed two small-scale PV units were no longer eligible for developing non-auction projects. This restriction blocked individuals who were keen to make further small-scale RES investments.

The restriction remains intact with the latest revision but enables persons behind two existing small-scale projects to sell or transfer at least one of these and become eligible for the installation of a new RES unit.

Non-auction PV, wind unit exceptions over at end of ’22

A recent measure enabling small-scale PV installations of up to 500 KW without competitive procedures for tariffs, under the condition that applicants do not already possess two projects of such technology, has sparked renewed activity in the sector around the country with thousands mobilizing.

However, for a full picture, this development needs to be combined with the fact that the measure represents a temporary window of opportunity for small-scale producers that will slam shut at the end of 2022.

According to official policy, as of January 1, 2023, RES units will only be eligible for operational contracts with DAPEEP, the RES market operator, if they have participated in competitive procedures.

This essentially means that old 500-KW PVs, wind energy turbines of up to 3 MW and equivalent facilities of energy communities, plus new RES units will need to have established contracts with DAPEEP by the end of 2022.

Though this represents ample time from a technical perspective, investors typically face big delays for connection term offers from DEDDIE/HEDNO, the distribution network operator. In most parts of the country, the operator’s examination of applications and eventual response takes several months.

Even more crucial for investors seeking to develop RES facilities without going to auction is the fact that the majority of DEDDIE/HEDNO responses are negative as network capacity availability is limited.

Applications for non-auction PVs will be submitted to an online platform planned to be developed by DEDDIE/HEDNO. First-come, first-served qualification criteria will be applied.

 

 

Ministry bill for small-scale PVs without competition procedure

The energy ministry has submitted legislative revisions to Parliament facilitating the installation of small-scale PVs, up to 500 KW, without competitive procedures as long as interested parties do not already own two such units that have also been installed without competitive procedures.

The draft bill also includes a revision designed to rectify unfair terms of the past for small-scale PVs on non-interconnected islands by offering 10 percent tariff increases for their output.

Another article in the bill enables older RES projects with licenses including provisions for the installation of connecting cables to now be developed without cable links if the hosting island has been interconnected or is in the process of being interconnected.

The bill also transfers distribution network operator DEDDIE’s assets on Crete to power grid operator IPTO, a pending issue that must be resolved for the launch of market activity concerning the island’s small-scale interconnection with the Peloponnese.

New energy efficiency subsidies exclude PVs, vehicle rechargers

The latest edition of the “Saving at Home – Becoming Autonomous” program subsidizing energy efficiency upgrades, expected to be announced on Thursday by the energy and environment ministry, will focus on domestic energy efficiency upgrades and not offer subsidy support for domestic installations of photovoltaic systems and electric vehicle recharging units.

Applicants with income levels below the poverty line, deemed, by the ministry, as personal incomes of up to 5,000 euros per annum and family incomes of up to 12,000 euros per annum, will be given priority.

Also, low-income applicants will be entitled to greater subsidy amounts representing 65 percent of efficiency upgrade expenses.

The new subsidy program, planned to be launched in September, is expected to be worth 500 million euros. Successful applicants will each be entitled to subsidy support of up to 50,000 euros, unchanged from the program’s previous edition.

Applications will not be processed on a first-come, first-served basis but, instead, priority will be determined by a combination of the following factors: applicant income level and number of people living in each household; age of building; and regional climate conditions.

Applicants who present plans promising to maximize energy efficiency levels with lower investment amounts will also be given priority.

 

Net metering upper limit set to be increased to 3 MW

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

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

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

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

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

 

Huawei FusionSolar Residential Smart PV wins iF design award

Two key products from Huawei FusionSolar Residential Smart PV product suite – SUN2000 Smart Energy Controller and LUNA 2000 Smart String Energy Storage System (ESS) – have recently been honored with iF Design Awards 2021.

These awards demonstrate the global recognition of Huawei’s creative and user-friendly designs that blend function and emotion, and fuse tech with nature. This marks the second such iF Design Award bestowed upon Huawei residential Smart PV solution, following the success of FusionSolar App in 2020.

Huawei has always adhered to user-centered and innovative product design principles to meet the needs of customers around the world.

Since 1953, the iF Design Award is organized by Hannover-based iF International Forum Design GmbH, the oldest industrial design institute in Germany, and has become one of the world’s three most prestigious design awards, and also known as the “Design Oscar”.

It builds its reputation on independent, rigorous, and reliable guiding principles. Since 1953, the iF Design Award has been recognized internationally as a symbol of design excellence. The jury of almost 60 world-renowned experts from more than 20 countries select products that excel in design, user experience, and innovation based on rigorous criteria and procedures.

SUN2000 Smart Energy Controller

The SUN2000 Smart Energy Controller features a smooth and exquisite appearance that matches its powerful functions. As the first-of-its-kind smart PV inverter utilizing AI-boost arcing protection, the smart energy controller boasts the highest safety rating and can increase energy yields by 30% when coupled with the optimizer, providing users with safe, stable, and green energy. Thus, it enables families to enjoy a low-carbon life.

LUNA2000 Smart String Energy Storage System

The smooth, sleek, waterfall-inspired aesthetic design of LUNA2000 ensures a good fit in the home environment, where the device serves as a backup power supply. Advanced high-voltage parallel connection technology supports the mixed-use of both old and new batteries. Its modular design promises both pack-level and rack-level optimizations that can increase the charge and discharge capacity, maximizing the potential of each battery. The home energy storage system gives homeowners confidence and peace of mind with five layers of safety protection.

Huawei FusionSolar App

As an integral part of our residential solution, Huawei FusionSolar App was also recognized with an iF Design Award in 2020. The app refines management to the module level and offers a user-friendly interface, presenting all the information you need right at your fingertips. It also allows you to check home power consumption in real-time and provides suggestions on how to fully utilize excess solar energy, while supporting intelligent management of each PV module to improve the efficiency of energy production. This attention to detail even extends to the APP’s interface that appears warm in color, bringing to mind the comforting warmth of home.

Huawei FusionSolar Residential Smart PV solution has already been deployed in over 500,000 households around the world, and has redefined modern living through three-layer protection, proactive safety for the entire house, intelligent management of each PV module to ensure optimal power generation performance, and stable operation during power outages.

 

 

 

 

RES capacity boosted, auctions to be extended until 2025

Greece’s new RES support mechanism, whose details are being finalized in talks between the energy ministry and European Commission officials, is expected to offer producers greater capacities, maintain the current system of 20-year tariffs for output through auctions, which will run until 2025, not 2023, as was originally planned.

The changes reflect the country’s revised and more ambitious National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), aligned with loftier EU objectives for a greater number of RES installations.

The new auctions will be mixed, enabling the participation of both solar and wind energy producers, but wind energy producers will be entitled to at least 30 percent of capacity offered at each auction.

The country’s original RES auction plan, drafted by former energy minister Costis Hatzidakis, now holding the labor and social affairs portfolio, had proposed 6 RES auctions each offering 350 MW for a total of 2.1 GW, but this total is now expected to be raised to at least 3 GW.

RES tariffs remunerating output have fallen considerably at recent RES auctions, driven lower by the intensified competition.

Also, the plan appears likely to include special geographically based RES auctions covering areas such as Crete, Evia and the Cyclades, as well as provisions for small-scale PV installations.

 

New wave of 100-KW solar farms planned for 4 regions

Energy minister Kostas Skrekas has announced a legislative plan to facilitate a new generation of small-scale solar energy farms of up to 100 KW in Crete, the Peloponnese, Evia and the Cyclades, which, through a new platform, would offer investors non-auction tariffs at relatively higher levels than existing tariffs for bigger projects.

Higher tariffs would be offered to investors as this smaller-scale solar parks face increased development costs, the minister noted.

The platform for applications concerning this new category could be ready to operate in October, a month beyond an initial intention, to give distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO, its developer, and interested parties more time to prepare, the minister indicated.

Once ratified, the legislative revision will offer an 86-MW solar capacity for the Peloponnese, 45 MW in the Cyclades, 15 MW of which will be reserved for net metering, 40 MW for Evia and 140 MW for Crete, 40 MW of which will be for net metering.

Connection terms list topped by PPC Renewables, key projects

Power grid operator IPTO has released a list of pending finalized connection terms for RES and combined heat and power (CHP) projects, prioritizing strategic investments and RES projects planned for lignite-dependent areas being phased out as part of the country’s decarbonization effort.

At the top of the list is an application for a 40-MW solar energy park project in Larissa, central Greece, listed under the strategic investments category.

It is followed by applications submitted by PPC Renewables for RES units planned in northern Greece’s west Macedonia area, until now a lignite-based local economy.

These applications submitted by PPC Renewables, a subsidiary of power utility PPC, concern 19 projects promising a capacity of approximately 1.9 GW, planned for the provincial cities Kozani and Florina. They include a 550-MW solar energy park in lignite-dependent Ptolemaida.

Also on the list are a further 76 connection-term applications for RES projects representing a total capacity of approximately 2.5 GW.

Overall, the list includes 96 applications for projects totaling 4.5 GW. Of these, 92 are PV projects, 2 are wind-energy projects, one is a combined PV and wind energy project, while the remaining application is for a small-scale hydropower station.

 

Legislative revision designed to cool overheated PV market

A legislative revision whose ratification will require RES investors to provide letters of guarantee worth 35,000 euros per MW for producer certificate applications concerning projects of more than 1 MW, the intention being to desaturate solar energy market capacity clogged up by excess applications not being followed through by investors, will be submitted to parliament either today or tomorrow.

Making letters of guarantee worth 35,000 euros per MW mandatory for investors means that a PV project with a planned capacity of 50 MW, for example, will require its investor to forward a sum of 1.75 million euros.

The RES market, especially its solar energy sector, is seen as an overheated market, prompting authorities to take action that will decongest and hasten the licensing procedure.

 

Competition intense in solar panel market, JinkoSolar ruling

Major investment interest for prospective solar energy projects, as indicated by the number of applications submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, as well as projects already in progress, has established Greece into a particularly important market for the photovoltaic sector.

A large number of investors have now entered the Greek solar energy market, many of these major international players. As a result, competition has intensified, as is reflected in lower price levels offered at auctions. Tariffs per KWh have fallen to levels well below those for customary electricity generation.

Competition between solar energy equipment suppliers has also greatly intensified. All the major international players have already entered the Greek market, or are preparing to do so. Driven by the market prospects in the years to come, they are looking to capture solid market shares.

Even so, 2021 has not been a comfortable year so far, while projections for the remaining months are unfavorable. Solar panel deliveries have encountered enormous problems as a result of shipping issues, which has prompted higher prices in the market.

As a result, the intense competition between PV equipment suppliers has not been limited to solar panel prices, which vary depending on quality, but also concerns, to a great extent, availability, flexibility and delivery-schedule reliability. This is an important aspect for investors as it often determines whether projects can be developed or not.

Amidst these market conditions, data has shown that JinkoSolar has managed to prevail and register high-level performances.

In the large-scale project category (utilities, 10 MW and over), setting the market tone and generating major revenue levels, the company appears to have now captured a market share of around 70 percent. JinkoSolar has signed contracts for a total capacity of 370 MW in 2021. Also taking into account smaller projects, orders for 2021 exceed 550 MW, representing more than 1.2 million PV panels.

In west Macedonia, a region in the country’s north attracting the interest of investors as a result of its existing electricity transmission networks, four major-scale projects promising a total capacity of approximately 370 MW, all equipped with JinkoSolar panels, are currently being developed.

One of the four solar farms, a 15-MW investment by PPC Renewables, is being developed by MYTILINEOS. Also, an ELPE 204-MW facility is being developed by juwi, while Kiefer is preparing a 110-MW unit and Total Eren a 40-MW facility.

Responding to a question on the reasons behind JinkoSolar’s strong performance, Dimitris Varlamis, Jinko Solar’s Head of Sales, South Eastern Europe, noted: “The advanced technology and quality of the panels, reliability of the company, but also the high level of our services, are the key factors customers judge us by and place their trust in us.” He made particular note of the company’s collaboration with COSCO, the Chinese shipping and logistics company. “Realizing, on time, the needs of our customers, especially for major-scale projects, we have collaborated, since 2019, with Cosco and Eurocom, making the most of the potential offered by related legislation innovatively drafted and by the public administration so that we could give shape to the system that could provide these services. We invested time and money and finally managed to be in a position to deliver panels to the Greek market in the shortest possible time, without VAT costs, while, at the same time, reducing to a minimum any risk for the customer during the panel delivery process.”

Through the use of this model, “we have, under the extremely adverse conditions of this year, continued to deliver successfully and consistently, previously notifying our customers on time about the situation and what they should expect,” Varlamis explained.

Investor experience

Major contractor representatives of the sector offered comments to energypress on their close cooperation with JinkoSolar, and the fruitful results:

“MYTILINEOS, as one of the world’s biggest energy players in the photovoltaic sector, always relies on the most reliable suppliers in order to incorporate the best technology into its projects, as well as to ensure that equipment will be delivered on time, so that projects can be connected on schedule. As a result, for years now, we have chosen JinkoSolar as one of our strategic suppliers of solar panels for projects all over the world,” explained Nikos Papapetrou, General Manager of the Renewables and Energy Storage division at MYTILINEOS. “In the first quarter of 2021, in a project of symbolic significance for PPC Renewables, as it is the first of a series of projects being developed by the company in [northern Greece’s] the Kozani area as part of the decarbonization effort, MYTILINEOS, following a competitive procedure and significant support from JinkoSolar, managed to emerge as the preferred bidder and develop, in little time, a 15-MW solar energy farm,” he continued.

On the same wavelength, Christina-Natalia Mela, General Manager at Total Erene Hellas, commenting on a 40-MW solar energy farm project in Sidera, Kozani currently being developed by the company as part of its investment plan for Greece, underlined: “The more difficult the supply chain becomes, the more necessary it is to work with reliable suppliers to ensure on-schedule launches of energy parks,” making note of the importance of “JinkoSolar’s successful delivery – amid a difficult period for supply of photovoltaic panels – of all modules within the first half of 2021, which enabled us to make unimpeded progress with all work so that the project can be connected with the network as scheduled.”

JinkoSolar’s reliability factor was also stressed by Christos Petrocheilos, General Manager at Kiefer. “At a time of extremely adverse conditions in the supply of panels, with sharp price increases for raw materials needed for photovoltaic panels, as well as major delivery delays, JinkoSolar has, yet again, proven to be the most reliable supplier, as the company successfully delivered, within the first quarter of 2021, our entire order of 240,000 Tiger bifacial panels,” he noted. “Carrying on from our collaboration for a project in Amfilohia [northwestern Greece], where, in 2020, we installed over 100 MW, JinkoSolar remains our strategic supplier of panels,” Petrocheilos said, referring to Kiefer’s trust, once again, in JinkoSolar for a project in Kozani’s Vathylakkos area, northern Greece, where the company, as EPC Contractor, is developing one of Greece’s biggest solar park clusters, totaling 110 MW, for approximately 100 investors.

“The supplier of PV panels possibly represents the most crucial factor in the development of a solar energy plan, which is the reason why we have chosen JinkoSolar as our strategic supplier,” noted Maria Mitsiolidou, General Manager at Green Line Energy. “Besides the quality of the panels and their technical characteristics, JinkoSolar successfully delivered over 120 MW during a particularly difficult period, a time when punctual delivery of materials and equipment is not at all a given,” she added.

Over the past three years, Green Line Energy has moved ahead with a major investment plan, developing and constructing numerous PV projects at various points around Greece. The company’s portfolio of projects, both completed and prospective, is expected to exceed 600 MW.

Piraeus port, an entry point

JinkoSolar’s collaboration with Cosco and transportation services company Eurocom at Piraeus port has been pivotal, as previously stressed by JinkoSolar’s Mr. Varlamis, for the company to be able to deliver panels to customers in Greece in the shortest possible time, without VAT charges.

Cosco and Eurocom representatives offered related comments to energypress.

Aggelos Karakostas, General Manager at COSCO:

“JinkoSolar is among Cosco’s biggest customers worldwide and we are reinforcing this important relationship through our strategic partnership at Piraeus Port, which JinkoSolar has chosen as the entry point for its solar panels to Europe.

This important relationship offers added value to Greece as the products are cleared through customs in Greece and then transported to other markets.

Piraeus port is the closest European mainland port to China, making the shipping time the shortest possible, while COSCO provides the maximum possible support to JinkoSolar so that solar panel deliveries are made on time.”

Hristoforos Varveris, CEO at Eurocom:

“Eurocom SA, in collaboration with Cosco, has designed innovative procedures facilitating JinkoSolar’s inflow to both the European and Greek markets through certified logistics centers and simplified customs procedures.

The Greek public administration has risen to the occasion, enabling the provision of value-added services at the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, at par, and in many cases, superior in quality to those provided by ports in northern Europe.”

 

 

Solar panel market hit by high prices, major delivery delays

Transportation delivery problems from China, combined with a continuing rise in the cost of raw materials, are maintaining solar panel prices at elevated levels, and, even more crucially, leaving the market dry.

According to PVInfoLink data, current price levels for silicon, the basic component for solar cells, have risen by 300 percent since July, 2020.

Container shipping costs have increased by 350 percent since April, 2020, reaching 12,000 dollars per container, while, according to some forecasts, will soon reach 15,000 dollars per container.

These developments have created unfavorable and unprecedented conditions for investors seeking to develop solar energy parks as they are unable to find panels that could be delivered within reasonable periods, even at higher prices.

Investors who had not placed orders for solar panels in anticipation of further price reductions now find themselves in big trouble. This is especially so for investors who face nearing electrification deadlines for solar energy parks.

According to projections by international analysts, PV price levels are not expected to start declining until at least the end of the first half of 2022.

Demand levels for PV panels will remain high, according to analysts, as investment plans in Europe and around the world are continuously growing in scale, and, even more crucially, the Chinese and Indian markets are moving ahead fast.

Letters of guarantee at €35,000 per MW possible for bigger PVs

RES investors applying for producer certificates concerning facilities over 1 MW may need to also submit accompanying letters of guarantee worth 35,000 euros per MW as part of the application process, the objective being to make this procedure more demanding and restrict applications to investors with serious intentions of following through on their plans.

Heightened investment interest has led to an overheated RES market, especially in the large-scale PV category, prompting saturation at various stages of the licensing process.

Restricting applications to investors with serious intentions will help free precious system capacity currently taken up by PV investors acting in a haphazard fashion without full commitment to their plans.

If the measure is eventually implemented, an investor behind a solar energy project plan with a capacity of 50 MW, for example, will need to submit a letter of guarantee worth 1.75 million euros.

The energy ministry does not intend to take immediate action but is likely to adopt a wait-and-see approach over a six-month adjustment period before deciding on whether to require letters of guarantee.

 

IPTO set to offer connection terms for PV group applications

Power grid operator IPTO is set to start issuing finalized connection term offers to small-scale PV group applicants after recently completing its assessment of applications submitted.

Late last week, the operator announced a list of group applications that fulfilled requirements by December 31, 2020, in preparation, according to energypress sources, for the issuance of a first batch of finalized connection term offers towards the end of June or early July.

This will place small-scale PV group applicants in line for operator connections.

As was noted by IPTO deputy Giannis Margaris two months ago, over 3,000 small-scale PV group applications representing approximately 3 GW were submitted to the operator for appraisal, a procedure that includes inspections for overlapping property issues concerning project sites.

Revisions were introduced to enable small-scale PV investors to submit group applications as a means of sidestepping distribution network saturation issues through direct connections to the transmission network, made possible by the installation of new substations to be funded by investors.

Small-scale PV group applications must represent a total capacity of at least 8 MW in order to be submitted to IPTO, according to the rule revisions.

 

RES investment interest high in June cycle, attracting 17 GW

RES investment interest remained high in a latest cycle for  producer certificate applications offered by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, between June 1 and 10, amassing over 700 applications representing a total capacity of 17.3 GW, energypress sources have informed.

This heightened level of interest has defied the forecasts of certain analysts who expected more subdued figures as a result of lower tariff prices at a recent RES auction.

Solar energy projects represented 12.7 GW of the total, while wind energy applications made up 4.1 GW.

The level of investment interest expressed through this June cycle greatly exceeds figures registered in the preceding cycle, in February, when a total of 477 RES producer certificate applications, representing 8.86 GW, were submitted.

Also taking into account last December’s cycle, when new rules were introduced, the grand total of applications, in all three cycles, exceeds 3,000 for projects representing 71 GW.

At the current rate, a single cycle is attracting more applications than the number submitted over the course of more than a year in the past.

A 20 percent proportion of producer certificate applications submitted in the December cycle was rejected as criteria were not fully met, the most common issue being overlapping properties declared as project sites by investors.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Municipal solar parks to help low-income household energy needs

Municipalities and prefectures will be offered 100 million euros in subsidies, through the recovery fund, for the development of solar energy farms whose resulting earnings will be used exclusively to cover the energy needs of approximately 30,000 low-income household around the country, energy minister Kostas Skrekas has announced in an interview with Greek daily Kathimerini.

These solar parks will offer a total capacity of 120 MW, the minister noted.

The minister also noted, in the interview, that a further 40 million euros from the recovery fund will be used to subsidize the replacement of 2,000 conventional taxis with electric-powered models.

Taxi owners will be entitled to 22,500 euros in subsidies for each vehicle replaced, the minister said, while adding that a variety of criteria, including car age, will be taken into account.

Support is also planned for energy communities, according to the minister.

“Energy communities are important when they serve their purpose and not merely promote capital-intensive investment. That is why we will support energy communities that will benefit those in need,” Skrekas explained.

Responding to a question regarding widespread resistance of local communities against wind energy installations and criticism faced by the ministry for being too cooperative with investor plans in this domain, the minister remarked: “We don’t license everything. Investor proposals currently exceed 100 GW, but we, through the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), estimate that, realistically, approximately 10 GW will be installed – in other words, one in ten.”

Revisions to a revised, and stricter, RES spatial plan will be completed by the end of the year, the minister told.

Ellaktor wind farm development on Evia, with EDPR, 24 months away

Leading infrastructure group Ellaktor’s development plan for wind energy projects with a 436.8-MW capacity on the island Evia, slightly northeast of Athens, as a joint venture with Portugal’s EDPR, is undergoing licensing, while construction is not expected to begin for another 24 months, the group’s new chief executive, Efthimios Bouloutas has informed during his first news conference at the company helm.

Ellaktor plans to invest 20.5 million euros, from a 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase, in the development of RES projects for a 500-MW portfolio increase, Bouloutas reiterated, referring to the new administration’s plans.

The equity capital increase is expected to be completed in July following the prospectus’ approval by the Capital Market Commission in late-June, Bouloutas anticipated.

Ellaktor is keen to expand its RES portfolio, currently dominated by wind energy projects, through acquisitions of other wind energy facilities as well as solar parks.

RES-sector involvement has proven pivotal in keeping the group afloat during times of crisis. Ellaktor’s installed capacity currently totals 493 MW, according to the group’s 1Q results.

More than half of Ellaktor’s EBITDA figure posted for the first quarter of 2021 – 28 million euros of 40 million in total – stemmed from RES interests.

Ellaktor projects totaling 88 MW are currently under construction and expected to be completed beyond 2023.

Ministry, DG Comp continuing talks on new RES auctions

The energy ministry and Brussels’ Directorate-General for Competition are continuing negotiations aiming to shape Greece’s new RES auctions from 2021 to 2024, the attention of these talks focused on details of the Greek proposal, not its overall structure.

Ministry officials are hoping the Brussels authority will offer its endorsement of the plan within the summer so that the first session of the new-look RES auctions can be announced in September and staged within 2021.

No changes to the fundamental structure of the Greek plan are expected. The ministry has proposed six mixed RES auctions (wind and solar) by 2024 and 350-MW capacities on offer at each session.

In its effort to ensure a balance in the opportunities for wind and solar projects at these mixed RES auctions, the ministry has proposed that either technology secures no less than 30 percent of the tariff agreements at each session.

Such a term is deemed necessary as protection for wind energy projects, facing far higher equipment costs than solar energy projects, and, as a result, unable to follow PVs along a path of reduced tariff offers. No wind energy projects secured tariffs at the most recent RES auction, last month.

Greece’s proposal for the inclusion of an additional 1 GW capacity into the new RES auction format, as a reserve amount for auctions to concern a series of special RES categories, is one of the aspects being negotiated.

PPC Renewables expecting KAS nod for Ptolemaida solar farm projects

PPC Renewables is anticipating approval, today, by Greece’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) for a large-scale cluster of solar farm projects totaling nearly 1 GW in the Ptolemaida plains of northern Greece, until now mined for their lignite deposits by parent company PPC, the power utility.

KAS has received an application from PPC Renewables for the solar energy projects Pteleonas 1, Pteleonas 2, Kardia 1, Exohi 8 and PPC Ptolemaida Mine A, B, C, D and E.

These projects, promising a total capacity of 960 MW, will be developed over a total land mass measuring 1,830 hectares.

PPC crews and sub-contractors have mined this land for decades, extracting lignite under the surveillance of KAS officials, watchful in the event of any archaeological discoveries.

Given PPC’s preceding mining activities in the region, PPC Renewables’ application for solar farm projects should not encounter any problems with KAS authorities.

Overall, PPC has submitted applications for solar farms in the area totaling 2.5 GW, which, if combined with applications lodged for solar farms in Megalopoli, Peloponnese, total 3 GW.

Claritas Greek solar portfolio up to 591 MW, construction to ‘start by late ’21’

Claritas, a pan-European renewable developer, acquired new RES production licenses during May for Greek solar projects representing 277 MW, significantly boosting its solar energy portfolio for the Greek market to 591 MW.

The company expects to be ready for its development of new solar energy projects, all clustered in northern Greece, by the end of 2021. Claritas plans to install latest-generation modules and inverters for these projects.

The company believes its solar projects will offer a sustainable and commercially viable solution amidst the country’s ongoing energy transition, prompting radical energy-mix changes, according to Dirk Lamottke, chief executive of Claritas Investments.

Commenting on the company’s investment plan for Greece, Nikos Siafakas, Director of Project Development, Greece, noted: “We want to finalize the remaining development steps in the new year and get ready for construction before next winter.”

Claritas, which has been successfully developing a large PV portfolio around Europe, entered the Greek solar market in 2018 and has since worked on the development of major-scale solar energy facilities through its subsidiary Claritas Hellas Energy BV.

HEDNO boosting substation capacities for RES connections

Distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO is installing new transformers at existing substations in an effort to exhaust the technical potential of existing infrastructure and boost capacity for new RES connections, primarily solar energy, as well as other technologies.

Over the past few weeks, the operator has been installing additional transformers at existing substation units in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region, as a pilot stage,  energypress sources have informed.

This reinforcement approach cannot be implemented at all substation facilities as some are not big enough to host additional transformers, technical staff at the operator explained.

Once the reinforcement effort has been completed in the west Macedonian region, DEDDIE/HEDNO crews will also begin working on networks in other parts of Greece.

 

Details, not structure, holding back RES auction plan talks

Ongoing negotiations between the energy ministry and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition for Greece’s new RES auction system are currently being held back by Brussels concerns over certain details of the Greek proposal, not its overall structure.

The energy ministry is prepared, if needed, to remove aspects causing issues so that negotiations on the new RES auction plan can be completed as swiftly as possible, sources have informed.

The new RES auction plan could be approved within the current summer, according to the more optimistic of forecasts, while the first RES auction under the new framework could be staged towards the end of this year.

At present, local officials are awaiting comments from Brussels following a Greek response to questions prior to Greek Orthodox Easter a couple of weeks ago. Ministry official are hoping Brussels’ comments will be kept to a minimum, which would pave the way for the RES auction plan’s approval.

According to the new RES auction plan, six combined solar and wind energy RES auctions will be staged until 2024, offering a total capacity of 350 MW at every session, for an overall capacity of 2.1 GW.

PPC to offer energy efficiency services following rival moves

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

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

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

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