According to Hellenic Transmission System Operator SA (HTSO), Greece has installed an additional 97MW of grid-connected PV capacity in June 2012, bringing its total PV capacity to 724MW. HTSO also revealed that the country’s PV systems generated 161.5 GWh of electricity in the same month.
Since the start of 2012, Greece has increased the capacity by 243MW. This boom has been partly fueled by the country’s FIT scheme which enables permitted projects to receive incentives. However, the Greek Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers (SPEF) expects Greek authorities to stop issuing building permits for PV power plants. So far, the authorities have issued almost 2 GW of new PV projects but the scheme only has 350 MW of capacity remaining before it reaches its cap of 1.5 GW by 2014. This, in turn, means that many permitted projects will not be eligible to receive incentives under the current FIT scheme.
SPEF estimates that 950 MW of PV capacity has so far been installed under the country’s FIT scheme, including 200 MW on the Greek islands. Additionally, SPEF estimates that 200 MW of under-development PV projects have already signed FIT contracts.
However, according to UK-based research firm Business Monitor International (BMI), Greece is keen to become Europe’s solar energy powerhouse with the Greek government having committed to invest up to €20 billion in the industry over a 10-year period to 2021. This is despite the country’s on-going financial crisis. But BMI believes that the country faces a number of challenges to achieve this target, including the fact that the cost of solar panels (€20 billion) will be difficult to raise whilst the requisite transmission infrastructure will be difficult to develop. Nevertheless, solar projects such as Helios are expected to attract significant investments.