German energy major RWE has established a joint venture (JV) with Greek utility PPC that will develop utility-scale solar projects in Greece with a total capacity of up to 2GW.
With RWE Renewables holding a 51% interest in the venture and PPC Renewables 49%, the collaboration could be extended further in the future, the companies said.
They touted the complementary strengths of the tie-up, which will combine RWE Renewables’ track record in financing, construction and operating projects with PPC Renewables’ knowledge of the Greek market and relationships with key stakeholders.
While the companies signed a memorandum of understanding in 2020 to pursue a potential renewables collaboration in Greece, the JV marks RWE’s entry into the market.
“Today marks a significant milestone in our journey. We welcome RWE to Greece and look forward to co-developing projects of unprecedented scale in the country,” said PPC Renewables CEO Konstantinos Mavros, who told PV Tech last year his company was eyeing collaborations with solar players to fast-track its aim of installing 2.3GW of solar.
PPC Renewables will contribute nine solar projects to the joint venture up to a total of 940MW, which are located in Greece’s Western Macedonia region, within the boundaries of a former coal mine.
RWE Renewables, meanwhile, has secured a pipeline of a similar size, with its projects in various stages of development and the first expected to be operational in 2023.
Katja Wünschel, COO onshore and PV Europe and Asia-Pacific at RWE Renewables, said Greece is a promising growth market for the company given its high solar energy levels and the country’s commitment to renewables. “European collaborations, like our partnership with PPC, are essential to making the energy transition happen,” she said.
Greece’s deployed solar PV capacity at the end of 2020 reached around 3.4GW, according to trade body SolarPower Europe, which is forecasting the country to exceed 1GW of annual solar additions for the first time this year.
Deployment is being supported by renewables auctions, the last of which saw solar bidders secure all the available 350MW of capacity. Lightsource BP said it won more than 40% of the total awarded capacity in that auction as it unveiled a solar co-development agreement with Greek renewables company Kiefer TEK.
Other recently announced collaborations in Greece’s solar sector include a JV between Cero Generation and renewables developer Wattcrop that will aim to bring forward 750MW of projects over the next four years.
Despite solar’s potential in Greece, developers and EPCs are faced with headwinds in the form of limited land availability, grid bottlenecks and objections from some local authorities and communities to large-scale projects.