Greece’s solar industry is set to install projects totaling 300MW in 2011 thanks to new legislation streamlining the country’s permitting procedure, according to the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (HELAPCO). The law, passed last May, will remove much of the red tape involved in obtaining building and environmental permits and considerably speed up project development.
Clean energy incentives – it has a feed-in tariff average of €400 per MWh – and high irradiance levels saw Greece’s solar capacity quadruple to 200MW in 2010, and has enticed developers into applying for licenses to build 9,500MW more. However, until now, restrictions on the amount of new power that could be connected to the grid prevented Greece’s solar sector from blossoming like the Czech Republic’s or Italy’s.
“There are so many applications that the government can’t cope, and the grid connection takes much longer than it should,” said HELAPCO policy adviser, Stelios Psomas. “It will take some time before many of these projects can take off.”
One of the first beneficiaries of the revamped permitting process has been Ellaktor SA, which connected its 10MW system in Polydamanta to the grid last month. Greece’s largest electricity provider, Public Power Corporation (PPC), is also taking advantage by pushing through its 50MW Megalopolis and 200MW Kozani plants.
Smaller-scale systems have also taken advantage of the elimination of both production licenses for projects less than 1MW in size and environmental permits for rooftop systems.