Greek sun shines through the crisis

Although Greece is going through an important economic and social crisis, due to the importance of becoming self-sufficient in terms of energy production and consumption renewable energies have continued to do well. Rtone believes strongly in the future of the renewables sector in Greece and to service the solar sector’s needs for monitoring opened an office in Athens in April 2012. I work full-time as the office’s permanent representative in Greece.

In particular from an investment perspective the solar sector has become increasingly interesting. Greece is very favorable to this sector due to 1) having the highest number of sunshine hours in Europe and 2) very high government subsidies for solar production.

Since Greece started investing in photovoltaics, the take-up rate has been very fast. According to Bloomberg, the Greek Government approved 393mWp in 2009, which increased to 1793kW by 2010.

The following graph, taken from the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (, shows strong increases in the number of installations for all sizes of photovolataic installations. It is particularly of note the emergence of the domestic sector as an important production source with the Greek government receiving 30000 applications for small projects totalling 5182mWp in 2011 (Bloomberg).

Small projects have been boosted by simplified procedures such as the elimination of both production licenses for projects of less than 1 megawatt and environmental permits for rooftop plants. Furthermore domestic installations up to 10kWp enjoy the highest subsidies offered by the Greek government for solar production which are currently at €0,525 per KWh.

An installation which produces just under 10kWp costs between €20,000 and €35000 and on average has fallen by €3000 since a year ago due to the fall in panel prices. A smaller installation which would take up 50-70 square metres and would produce between 3,5-5kWp costs around the €12000 mark. The growing number of solar installers is leading companied to having to differentiate themselves from their competitors by by better service. One of the ways which they can do this is through the Rbee Solar monitoring service. Rbee Solar guarantees that any issues that may arise after-sale will be promptly dealt with offering the client peace of mind about the income from his solar installation.

Rtone’s own network and research confirms that the future for the PV sector looks sunny. The only challenge at the moment for domestic installations is concerns about the financial health of the Public Power Corporation (PPC). However these ought not to be too great as the PPC can always increase the price of the electricity it sells to compensate for any cash flow problems.

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