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.
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.”