Greece goes smaller with end-of-year solar tender

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Image credit: Bongo vongo / Flickr

Greece has opted to slightly trim the capacity on offer at the year’s last solar-only tender, setting ceiling prices that reflect the gradual technology cost decreases seen in the country.

Documents unveiled by energy regulator RAE over the weekend reveal the PV-only auction due in late 2019 will offer 287.11MW in contracts, down from its July predecessor's 300MW.

Solar projects in the 500kW-20MW capacity range will have between 7 October and 4 November 2019 to submit applications for the solar tender, which is set to award contracts in December.

PV auction bids will carry participation fees of €500 (US$553) and start at ceiling prices €66.02/MWh (around US$73/MWh), RAE’s document indicates.

According to RAE, the price cap reflects the €62.77/MWh (around US$70/MWh) average tariffs seen at this year’s earlier solar tender, which itself had kicked off with ceiling prices of €69.26/MWh (US$76.63/MWh).

The new solar auction – to be held alongside a simultaneous wind-specific 225.45MW tender – is due to choose winners around 12 December, the RAE timetables note, adding however that extensions are possible.

Greece’s road to 6.9GW of solar by 2030

The new December tender is the latest of a series in Greece, where policy goals require solar to more than double from the 2.6GW tallied up last year to 6.9GW by 2030.

Greece’s growth timetable – which would place solar as the top clean energy source by the end of the decade, overtaking wind’s 6.4GW – follows a flatlining of installed PV capacity since 2013, evidenced by IRENA stats.

The country’s renewables auctioning efforts kicked off with three simultaneous technology-specific tenders in July 2018, respectively targeting wind, PV projects of 1-20MW and below 1MW.

The latest PV-only tender of July resulted in undersubscription, with 200.26MW in solar bids coming forward for a tender designed to offer up 300MW; only around 143MW was finally awarded by RAE.

For its part, Greece’s first technology-neutral tender produced a brighter picture. The auction of April 2019 triggered solar and wind bids of 637.78MW – up from the 600MW on offer – and finally granted 437.78MW, with PV bagging six of the seven winning contracts.

The clean energy campaign is being mirrored by mounting foreign interest on the ground. In mid-May, German investor DWH became a shareholder of a local clean energy firm Maximus Terra, signaling “special interest” in the latter’s 200MW PV pipeline.

The prospects and challenges of European solar's new era will take centre stage at Solar Media's Large Scale Solar Europe 2020, to be held in Lisbon on 31 March and 1 April 2020

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