Cero Generation forms JV with Wattcrop to develop 750MW of solar in Greece


The joint venture will initially develop Wattcrop’s existing portfolio. Image: Green Investment Group via Twitter.

Cero Generation, a solar portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, has formed a joint venture (JV) with renewables developer Wattcrop that will aim to bring forward 750MW of PV in Greece over the next four years.

The partners will initially co-develop Greece-based Wattcrop’s existing portfolio, which consists of more than 480MW early-stage projects in its home market.

They said the JV’s future project pipeline will be supported by Greece’s emerging power purchase agreement market.

Cero was founded by Green Investment Group earlier this year and has more than 8GW of solar capacity under development in markets such as the UK, Italy, Spain, Poland, France and the Netherlands.

As well as acquiring a minority stake in French agrophotovoltaic developer Green Lighthouse Development, the company recently formed a joint venture with Enso Energy that will target 1GW of subsidy-free solar capacity across England and Wales.

The latest collaboration marks Cero’s entry into Greece, with the JV looking to combine Cero’s technical experience and investment capacity with Wattcrop’s knowledge of the local market.

“Our partnership with Cero Generation, a GIG portfolio company, will enable us to develop, build and operate quality renewable energy assets and accelerate the transformation and decarbonisation of electricity generation in Greece,” said Ypatios Moysiadis, managing partner at Wattcrop Group.

Greece has a target to ensure 61% of all electricity consumed in the country comes from renewable sources by 2030, when it expects to have 7,660MW of PV capacity, up from the 3,351MW installed as of year-end 2020. However, new European Union emissions reduction goals may see that target increased to 10GW.

A Greek renewables auction in May closed with solar bidders securing all available capacity, with Lightsource BP picking up 40% on offer. The company, a joint venture with oil major BP, said its success in that auction is part of a larger 640MWp solar portfolio it will develop with Greek renewables firm Kiefer TEK.

Greece plans to carry out six technology-neutral tenders between 2021 – 2024, awarding a total of 2.1GW of renewables capacity. While the country appears on track to exceed its solar deployment targets, developers operating in the county are currently faced with headwinds in the form of grid bottlenecks as well as a lack of suitable land for large-scale projects.

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