Small-scale PVs, RES projects to be given deadline extensions

Investors behind small-scale solar energy projects awarded non-auction tariffs and RES projects that have secured their tariffs through auctions will be given more time to complete their projects,  with current tariffs intact, as a result of pandemic-related delays for which investors cannot be held accountable.

Investors have faced delays, both in delivery of equipment as well as project construction.

The energy ministry has prepared a related draft bill that will be submitted to parliament for ratification, ministry sources have informed.

Though it remains unclear when this could be, the ministry sources ascertained the bill would be ratified imminently, prior to an April 30 completion deadline for small-scale PVs.

Solar energy projects awarded non-auction tariffs are expected to be given six-month extensions, while RES projects that have secured tariffs at auction will be given an additional ten months for completion. Completion of projects by the new deadlines will certify the tariffs they currently hold.

A six-month extension for small-scale PVs would give this category until October 30 to begin operating, and, as a result, certify tariffs of 65.74 euros per MWh.

Also, small-scale PVs incorporated into energy communities will certify tariffs of 68.86 euros per MWh if they are completed by the October 30 date.

Motor Oil buys Fortress 240MW RES units, ELPE also a bidder

Petroleum company Motor Oil, a member of the Vardinogiannis group, has acquired a 240-MW wind energy portfolio from private equity fund Fortress for a sum estimated at 123.5 million euros, renewable energy market sources have informed.

The Vardinogiannis group yesterday announced this acquisition, comprised of 220 MW in existing wind energy units and a 20-MW wind energy project now under construction, without naming the seller.

Motor Oil was named the preferred bidder following a two-round tender staged by Fortress that included Canadian fund Cubico in the second round, the sources informed.

The majority of this portfolio’s wind farms are located in central and northern Greece.

Interestingly, fellow Greek petroleum company Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) also participated in the tender but did not make it past the first round, the sources said.

Both Motor Oil and ELPE have set ambitious goals for the addition of RES units to their respective production capacities.

Motor Oil, which had set an objective to build a RES portfolio of more than 300 MW over a two-year period, is already there given its existing installed capacity – prior to this acquisition – which exceeds 100 MW.

Had ELPE added the Fortress wind energy farms to its portfolio, it, too, would have taken a big step towards achieving its RES objective, set at 500-MW. The group is currently developing a 200-MW solar farm in the west Macedonia area, northern Greece.

Fortress, represented in Greece by local associate Nostira, had bought the aforementioned portfolio in September, 2018 from the Libra group, headed by shipowner George Logothetis.

 

May RES auction applications total 128 for 1,092 MW, PVs dominant

RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, has confirmed previous reports of a strong turnout for its forthcoming RES auction in May, the number of applications reaching 128 for projects representing a total capacity of 1,092 MW, dominated by solar energy projects.

A minimum participation level set by RAE to ensure a competitive session was greatly exceeded.

The session, to offer tariffs for mature RES projects totaling a maximum of 350 MW, will help steer these plans towards swift development and also drive prices down as a result of bidding competition, to the benefit of consumers and the national economy, RAE noted in an announcement.

Approximately 70 percent of the RES auction applications submitted concern solar energy projects, the other 30 or so percent concerning wind energy projects.

The absence of quotas for the two RES technologies acted as a disincentive for wind energy investors, as bidding against solar energy investors will be difficult given the sharp drop in prices for PV equipment.

The overwhelming majority of wind energy applications, representing a total capacity of about 300 MW, concerns projects that failed to secure tariffs at the previous RES auction.

Solar energy applications, for major-scale projects between 10 and 20 MW, represent a much higher capacity total of approximately 700 MW.

A preliminary list of auction participants is scheduled for release on May 13, while the finalized list is expected May 20, once RAE has examined any possible objections. The auction is scheduled to take place May 24.

Work on PPC Renewables 200-MW solar park starting April

Development of a major-scale 200-MW solar farm planned by PPC Renewables in Ptolemaida, northern Greece, a project budgeted at 110 million euros, is expected to begin in approximately one month.

A series of pre-construction procedures are expected to be completed within the next four weeks, enabling the Mytilineos Group’s METKA EGN, the project’s contractor, to begin work on this project. It represents the biggest part of a 230-MW solar energy project cluster planned by PPC Renewables.

A first 15-MW cluster has already been completed, while a second section representing an equivalent capacity is now being developed and should be ready by autumn.

Work on another big solar farm project planned by PPC for Megalopoli in the Peloponnese, to offer a capacity of 50 MW, is expected to begin in June.

On another front, PPC Renewables is currently working on establishing a major joint venture with Germany’s RWE by July or August.

PPC Renewables and RWE are currently working through a series of matters, including a number of legal issues. RWE will hold a 51 percent stake in this venture.

The two partners plan to equally contribute solar energy projects for a total capacity of 2 GW and a total value of approximately one billion euros, once developed, to this joint venture.

Talks on which projects each partner will choose to contribute to this joint venture remain at an early stage.

PPC Renewables is expected to contribute PV licenses concerning the west Macedonia and Megalopoli areas, while RWE is seen contributing project licenses or anticipated Greek project acquisitions being eyed by the German company for quite some time.

 

PV units dominate applications for RES auction in May

Solar energy projects dominated the number of applications submitted by RES investors for participation in an upcoming May 24 auction to offer tariff prices for PV and wind energy facilities, sources have informed.

Wind farm project applications appear to have been greatly outnumbered. Also, the level of applications concerning wind farm projects that failed to ensure tariffs at a preceding auction was particularly low. This category of projects was automatically entitled to participate in the May auction, to be staged by RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy.

The application deadline for the May auction expired yesterday. An official announcement has yet to be released as a result of pending contractual issues between RAE and CosmoOne, the provider of digital platforms used for these auctions.

The May auction, the final session to be held under current rules, concerns solar energy projects up to 20 MW and wind farms up to 50 MW. Tariffs for a maximum capacity of 350 MW will be offered.

In accordance with rules designed to help make these auctions competitive, participants will need to represent a total of 700 MW if this 350-MW capacity is to be offered in its entirety.

According to sources, wind farm applicants appear to represent a total capacity of approximately 300 MW, while the total capacity sum for PV projects is expected to be far higher.

A preliminary list of auction participants is scheduled for release on May 13, while the finalized list is expected May 20, once RAE has examined any possible objections.

 

Mytilineos extending global partnership with Huawei

Following the successful cooperation with the Renewables and Storage Development (RSD) Business Unit of MYTILINEOS (METKA EGN) in Greece, Huawei extends its business partnership with MYTILINEOS globally, signing a memorandum of cooperation regarding the supply of innovative and reliable Huawei string inverters, for PV plants including but not limited to the UK, Uzbekistan, Spain and Cyprus.

Huawei inverters, harnessing more than 30 years of expertise in digital information technology, rethink PV with regards to power generation, O&M, grid connection, and safety. Their robustness and reliability is based on Huawei’s mature string technology, coupled with built-in digital technologies, increased dynamic MPPT efficiency, as well as TUV verified >99.996% inverter availability. Therefore, making Huawei’s solution the best choice in terms of technological superiority and high efficiency at a low maintenance and service cost with a minimum failure rate.

Huawei’s innovative features such as MBUS communication running on AC-line and Smart IV Curve Diagnosis, have completely enhanced traditional manual inspection mode. By integrating advanced digital technologies, Huawei inverters can proactively identify the electrical features of the PV plant and automatically adjust grid connection algorithm to match the power grid, therefore proving Huawei to be the best fit for large-scale projects, meeting even the most demanding of grid connection requirements.

As Nikos Papapetrou, General Manager of the RSD Business Unit of MYTILINEOS stated: “We have decided to strengthen our cooperation further with Huawei in a large part of our portfolio globally, greatly based on the reliability of the inverters that ensure our plants’ performance even in harsh environments, as well as on their integrated advanced attributes that facilitate installation and reduce our operating cost.” Mr. Papapetrou added: “Huawei’s leading position worldwide, its comprehensive service offering as well as its customer-centric approach have convinced us that we made the secure choice”. 

As Jacky Chen, Managing Director Huawei Technologies South Balkan Region stated: “We are extremely delighted that MYTILINEOS, one of the most successful solar development and EPC companies globally, trusts us with the opportunity to be actively part of the largest PV plant portfolios worldwide. We are committed to providing increased performance, with smart devices that maximize efficiency and minimize operating costs, therefore ensuring a world-class photovoltaic installation and a long-term investment”.   

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – the company is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. Huawei’s end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions and services are both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with ecosystem partners, the company creates lasting value for its customers, working to empower people, enrich home life, and inspire innovation in organizations of all shapes and sizes. At Huawei, innovation focuses on customer needs. The company invests heavily in basic research, concentrating on technological breakthroughs that drive the world forward. The company has more than 194,000 employees, and operates in more than 170 countries and regions. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company wholly owned by its employees. For more information, visit Huawei online at www.huawei.com.

About Huawei FusionSolar

Huawei offers leading Smart PV solutions harnessing more than 30 years of expertise in digital information technology. By integrating AI and Cloud, Huawei further incorporates many latest ICT technologies with PV for optimal power generation, thus making the solar power plant to be Highly Efficient, Safe & Reliable with Smart O&M and Grid Supporting capabilities and builds the foundation for solar to become the main energy source. For solar energy users, Huawei launched advanced solution for C&I and residential customers based on the ‘Optimal Electricity Cost and Active Safety’ concept. By improving the utilization of solar power, Huawei has helped to power millions of residents and hundreds of industries globally.

Huawei will continue to innovate and enable renewable energy to empower each individual, home, and organization.

For more information, visit Huawei online at https://solar.huawei.com/ or follow us on:

 

Ellaktor adding €20.5m to RES portfolio for wind farms, PV units

Leading infrastructure group Ellaktor plans to inject a further 20.5 millions to its renewable energy portfolio through an anticipated 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase.

Ellaktor’s new administration is placing emphasis on the group’s financial rebound in the RES sector, chief executive Aris Xenofos (photo) told analysts during a virtual-conference presentation.

The 20.5 million-euro sum planned to be injected into the group’s RES portfolio will be used to accelerate a growth plan through wind farm acquisitions and investments in solar energy.

At present, Ellaktor possesses just one small solar farm in operation, a 2-MW facility in the central Peloponnese’s Arcadia region.

Ellaktor is Greece’s second biggest RES energy producer with a total installed capacity of 491 MW offered by 24 wind energy farms, a small-scale hydropower unit, and the aforementioned Arcadia PV facility.

The company, aiming to increase its total installed capacity to 579 MW by 2022, is currently developing a new 88.2-MW wind energy facility.

Ellaktor, according to the administration’s presentation to analysts, is also moving ahead with a one billion-euro agreement reached with Portugal’s EDPR for joint development of wind farms totaling 900 MW.

The Ellaktor group’s RES portfolio revenue rose to represent 9 percent of total turnover in the nine-month period of 2020, from 3 percent in 2018.

The listed group’s planned 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase will need to be approved at a general shareholders’ meeting scheduled for April 2. Responding to questions by analysts, Xenofos, the chief executive, noted he is confident shareholders will support the plan.

The group intends to use 100 million euros of the 120.5 million-euro equity capital increase to cover liquidity needs at its Aktor subsidiary, including 45 million euros for the company’s loss-incurring PV activity in Australia and 55 million euros to cover supplier costs.

 

 

New network expansion model to support PV investments

A new formula just introduced by the distribution network operator DEDDIE/HEDNO for the expansion of medium-voltage transmission lines promises to restart the development of small-to-medium scale solar energy projects by providing a viable way for investors to cover the cost of network projects.

This new approach comes as an effort to end investment stagnancy in the RES sector by enabling RES producers to overcome local network saturation issues that have prevented the development of their project plans.

The new formula entails the issuance of connection terms for clusters of independent PV units, for which the operator will temporarily cover the cost of network expansion projects concerning units that will not pay immediately.

The plan was introduced by the operator last Friday, beginning with the issuance of connection terms for a first batch of three PV clusters.

It comes at a time when, according to data processed by SPEF, the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers, the percentage of RES applications rejected by DEDDIE/HEDNO has reached a level of 80 percent.

This heightened level of rejections has, more recently, prompted the intervention of sector agencies, highlighting the fact that investor interest in RES investments, especially small-and-medium sized photovoltaics, has come to a standstill.

 

National Energy completes acquisition of wind, solar portfolio

National Energy (NE) has completed the acquisition of C. 70MW of operational wind and solar assets in Greece from IBG Hellenic Fund III (HFIII), a private equity fund managed by Hellenic Capital Partners (HCP) for an undisclosed sum.

NE was launched two years ago to develop, construct, own and operate renewable power plants across Europe, starting from Greece.

It is understood that NE is actively looking for more opportunities to acquire operational wind and solar assets and currently has 161MW of additional solar PV assets under construction out of a portfolio of 270MW that has successfully participated in the auctions, and a development pipeline in the hundreds of MW.

George Lagios, Greek Country Manager of NE was pleased with the support NE received from HCP throughout the process. He pointed out that: “the acquisition comes with the added benefit of NE taking on an experienced development and engineering team which will further strengthen our firm’s positioning to operate as a full scale IPP, namely across the full value chain with capabilities from development, financing and construction to operations and asset management. This transaction is also testament of NE’s capability to pre-empt competitive processes and transact bilaterally in a transparent and reliable way”.

With the completion of this transaction with NE, HFIII has successfully divested the operating assets of its renewable energy portfolio. Having now liquidated most of its holdings, HFIII is heading for full divestment, being the 4th consecutive fund under HCP’s management to achieve significant returns for its investors.

Spiros Papadatos, CEO of HCP stated: “We would like to thank NE for their hard work and commitment towards closing this transaction. We also take this opportunity to sincerely thank all our investors, both institutional and private, for their cooperation and trust throughout our partnership. HFIII was the first Greek Private Equity Fund focusing purely on investments in the domestic renewable energy sector, capturing early its prospects. Today, there is a very strong demand for renewable assets, both by domestic and international investors, far exceeding the goals for renewable energy penetration set at national level”.

Akereos Capital acted as exclusive M&A and debt advisor to NE in the transaction while the debt package was provided by Piraeus Bank who were advised by Labadarios Law. KLC Law and Squire Patton Boggs advised NE while Seissoglou & Nikolaidis advised HCP. TUV Hellas were selected as technical advisors, Marsh & Co as insurance advisors and E&Y acted as financial and tax advisor to NE.

Revisions to permit energy storage for households, industry

A special committee assembled by the energy ministry to deliver a plan, by May 15, tackling energy storage licensing and operation issues, is working on revising an existing framework to facilitate, and make financially beneficial, battery system installations at homes, businesses and industrial facilities, energypress sources have informed.

The existing framework, particularly restrictive and, as a result, subduing related investments, limits energy storage system installations to 30 KW and permits usage to roof-mounted PV panels for self-production.

The ministry’s special committee, which has been working intensively for more than two months, is striving to make revisions that would  broaden the usage of energy storage systems, the sources noted.

Energy storage system installations are expected to be permitted regardless of whether respective consumers have installed RES systems. This promises to enable battery charging through the network for utilization of stored energy at times chosen by consumers.

The use of energy storage systems is nowadays widely acknowledged as an important contributing factor for support of electricity networks and prevention of grid instability issues, especially during hours when PVs are disconnected as a result of a lack of sunlight.

Over 30% of RES project bids show territorial overlap issues

Nearly one in three RES project plans submitted to December’s licensing round are problematic as they display territorial overlaps concerning envisaged project sites, energypress sources have informed.

More than 30 percent of 1,864 producer certification applications submitted to the December round claim overlapping territory for RES project development, especially in the solar energy sector.

This latest concern comes as yet another sign of an overheated market and this condition’s possible repercussions.

The territorial overlap problem makes clear that a significant number of project plan licensing applications were lodged in a haphazard fashion without any organized registration work for land claims, placing in doubt the feasibility of these project plans.

Licensing application numbers were also sizeable for an ensuing round last month. A total of 477 applications representing 8.8 GW were submitted, increasing the likelihood of the implementation of filters, currently being examined by the energy ministry, to block baseless applications from licensing procedures.

JinkoSolar PV module prices up 15%, further rises over next 6 months

Prices of solar energy modules produced by JinkoSolar, one of the largest PV panel manufacturers in the world, have risen by roughly 15 percent in the Chinese market over the past few weeks, Dany Qian, vice president of the China-based producer, has noted in a PV-Magazine interview.

The results of certain key tenders announced recently show a price increase of between 10 and 15 percent, while an even higher increase is being anticipated for upcoming sessions, the deputy chief pointed out in the interview.

The Chinese market is crucial as a solar module price indicator as it brings to the forefront a shortage of raw materials, Qian pointed out.

Increased PV module prices, according to Qian, can be attributed to shortages of module frames and raw materials such as polysilicon, glass and silver, as well as a lack of manufacturing capacity to meet strong demand at present.

Glass and polysilicon producers are making efforts to increase their production capacity, but establishing new factories and production lines will require more time.

Also taking into account the US dollar’s continuing slide, following stimulus measures to ease the pandemic-related hardship, PV panel prices are expected to rise further, Qian noted.

The strong demand, at present, will prompt further PV module price rises for at least another six months, the JinkoSolar deputy projected.

RES producer certificate applications wave sustained

The increased wave of RES producer certificate applications submitted of late continued with February’s round, attracting 477 applications representing a total of 8.8 GW, energypress sources have informed. This latest round’s deadline expired on February 10.

Applications for solar energy projects were dominant, both numerically and in terms of capacity, totaling 226 applications and 6 GW, respectively.

A total of 167 applications representing 2.65 GW were submitted for wind energy projects.

The remainder of applications concerned a variety of other RES technologies such as small-scale hydropower plants, combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) facilities, as well as biogas-biomass units.

The supervising body, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, is soon expected to begin processing applications submitted for the preceding December round and complete this procedure by late March or early April.

Successful applicants of the December round will then be requested to pay required fees for their producer certificates.

A total of 864 applications representing a capacity of 45.55 GW were lodged by prospective investors for the December round.

PPC board approves joint venture agreement with RWE

The board at power utility PPC has unanimously approved an agreement between fully owned subsidiary PPC Renewables and Germany’s RWE Renewables for solar energy project investments and a portfolio of up to 2 GW through a joint venture to be established in June, PPC has announced.

RWE Renewables will hold a 51 percent stake in the joint venture with 49 percent going to PPC Renewables, PPC specified.

Development of the collaboration’s first projects, stemming from the PPC Renewables portfolio, is expected to begin early in 2022.

PPC will initially limit its involvement to contributing licenses, not capital, to the joint venture, while RWE Renewables will provide investment amounts required for the development of these early projects.

The joint venture’s establishment of a 2-GW solar energy portfolio will require investments estimated at one billion euros, while approximately 1,000 jobs will be created.

PPC set to endorse RWE joint venture deal, German firm to hold 51%

Power utility PPC’s board is today expected to endorse a joint-venture agreement reached some time ago with RWE, Germany’s biggest power producer, for RES investments.

The agreement, giving RWE a 51 percent share of the joint venture and PPC the other 49 percent, is expected to be PPC’s first of more to come for RES sector investments.

Today’s anticipated endorsement by the PPC board represents a first step towards the agreement’s implementation.

As chief partner of the joint venture, RWE will provide greater capital amounts for investments and maintain control.

The partners plan to establish a 2-GW portfolio of solar energy facilities in Greece, contributing roughly 1 GW each.

Their agreement was presented through a virtual conference on January 29, co-staged by Greece’s development and energy ministries.

PPC plans to develop major-scale solar energy farms in northern Greece’s west Macedonia region and the Peloponnese, amongst others, for this joint venture. RWE has yet to decide on its project contributions.

The German company intends to seek investment opportunities through thousands of producer certificate applications submitted to RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, in a December licensing cycle. These applications represent a total capacity of 34 GW.

Given the Greek market’s current cost for installing PV facilities, estimated at 500,000 euros per 1 MW, the 2-GW portfolio planned by PPC and RWE represents a one billion-euro investment.

 

Survey Digital signs 11 EPC contracts in January for projects around Greece

Survey Digital Photovoltaics signed within January 2021 contracts for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of eleven (11) photovoltaic parks of 400kW and 500kW, in various areas throughout Greece. Specifically, they are the following projects:

  1. Mesovarda Spata – 499.5 kW
  2. Velanideza Spata – 499.5 kW
  3. Voula-Varda Spata – 499.5 kW
  4. Peristeria-Sykamino Oropos – 399.60 kW
  5. Goumia Ampelonas Larissa – 499.5 kW
  6. Evernozi Ampelonas Larissa – 499.5 kW
  7. Kasian Tyrnavos Larissa – 499.5 kW
  8. Kotroules Tyrnavos Larissa – 499.5 kW
  9. Dalouka – Nea Aghialos – Volos – 499.60 kW
  10. Souvala – Nea Aghialos – Volos – 399.60 kW
  11. Gefiraki – Nea Aghialos – Volos – 399.60 kW

The equipment that will be used for the panels is from the companies Trina, Upsolar and Znshine, while for the inverters from the companies Sungrow, Huawei and Goodwe. The projects will be financed by National Bank of Greece Leasing and Alpha Bank, and will have completed their construction by the end of April 2021.

Along with the complete package of EPC services, Survey Digital supports its customers in receiving very competitive financing packages, through Alpha Bank. For mature projects looking for a quality EPC package accompanied by a flexible funding program, Survey Digital executives are available to discuss possible collaboration. Those interested can contact the company at 210 6044212 or via email at mail@survey-digital.com.

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.