These last few weeks, Greece has seen many violent clashes between police and citizens against its austerity measures. Despite this, NPD Solarbuzz has announced it considers Greece a potential saviour of the European PV market this year, with strong demand and attractive project returns.
However, the uptake of PV within the country in the second half of 2012 is dependent on various external factors, predominantly the outcome of the EU bailout and the results of the forthcoming general election later this year.
Last year, PV demand in Greece was approaching 400MW, through PPA awards with residential installations accounting for 21% of the total market due to available bank-financing and strong customer demand. Today however, both residential and non-residential segments are being impacted by economic uncertainty. Limited financial resources in the private sector – due to a shortage of bank liquidity – are providing significant constraints. Within the non-residential segments, local banks are offering limited participation, with the financial commitment having to be provided mainly by foreign entities or PV manufacturers directly.
The contrast between 2011 and 2012 was in part caused by an FiT rate reduction that impacted heavily on the residential segment. Moreover, this change has also been attributed to harsher-than-normal weather conditions during the winter season in Greece that had an adverse effect on ground-mounted installations.
NPD Solarbuzz insists there continues to remain quite a few reasons for optimism towards the Greek market. One reason is the PPA awards administered by the Hellenic Transport System Operator for 2GW of installations were due to commence building at the beginning of this year. These awards have 18 months – from award date – to realize installation and feed electricity directly into the network.
Demand may also come from government-facilitated ‘fast-track’ projects with 500MW of installations currently in the pipeline, some of which are expected to occur during 2012.