All Ukraine’s solar plants will continue to receive the tariff promised by the country's former government, even after Crimea voted to join Russia, lobby group European–Ukrainian Energy Agency (EUEA) has predicted.
Francisco Queirós, head of the EUEA's solar working group and managing director of Martifer Solar Ukraine, told PV Tech, although there is no sure answer yet, “as long as Ukraine considers Crimea to be a part of Ukraine, the current [feed-in-tariff] FiT is still valid”.
All PV plants in Ukraine connected to the national grid are currently receiving the feed-in-tariff of €0.34/kWh - among the world’s most generous.
Queirós said there have been no official statements or announcements yet, but Ukraine considers Crimea as part of the state, and so state benefits such as the FiT for solar will remain in place.
The economic disruption following political unrest has given the investment climate for Ukrainian solar an unstable outlook says Queirós: “As it is the case of all Ukrainian economy, all investment projects are more or less frozen.”
In the current turmoil and uncertainty it is “very difficult to attract investors to the country, and the solar sector is no exception”, Queirós added.
Last week Kevin Berenfeld, CFO of Eastern European engineering company, Beten International told PV Tech that with economic uncertainty and dependence on foreign investment, “the magnitude of the increase in the [solar] capacity installed depends on the perception of Ukraine by foreigners”.
On completed PV plants Queirós said: “PV plants built and commissioned are in operation, few projects are underway”
Currently all solar companies can continue operations and, “for the moment” the EUEA does “not have information of any company interrupting its activity”, said Queirós.
Queirós explained that all Ukrainian government statements concerning the energy sector “have been related to the gas sector”, and the solar sector is still waiting direction to find out its fate.
A spokeswoman for Activ Solar, also a member of the EUEA and responsible for the majority of solar plants in Ukraine, said: “Currently, Activ Solar is monitoring the situation in Crimea very carefully.”
Following on from Sunday’s referendum for Crimea to separate from Ukraine, and join the Russian federation, Activ Solar said: “It is unclear what the referendum means for the owners of the [solar] plants or for other investors in Crimea.”
Activ Solar refrained from commenting on the political situation in Crimea and the rest of Ukraine but said it is “in constant contact with our employees and partners regarding the situation”.
When asked about whether the new Ukraine government would freeze its assets, Activ Solar would not comment.
The spokeswoman told PV Tech Activ Solar is “closely monitoring and evaluating the political and economic developments in Ukraine, and will take action to mitigate risk exposure”.
Activ Solar added: “In spite of the ongoing tensions in Ukraine, Activ Solar firmly believes in the fundamentals of its business and the potential for PV development in the country.”
Activ Solar has built four operational PV plants in Crimea, among them the 105MWp Perovo and the 82.6MW Ohotnikovo plants.