Greece will launch a public call next month for subsidies for rooftop photovoltaics paired with batteries. The program is for households, small firms and farmers. The aim is to add at least 250,000 such units.
The energy crisis is not over as the next winter will be full of challenges as well, Greece’s Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Skrekas told Kathimerini in an interview and warned against complacency despite the latest drop in energy prices. The government is determined to enable affordable energy prices for citizens and accelerate the production of clean energy to permanently reduce prices and eliminate the causes of climate change, he pointed out.
Among the measures and tools to fulfill the ambitious national energy transition and decarbonization goals, the rooftop solar power program is one of the most important ones, especially for homeowners.
Skrekas clarified that subsidies from the scheme, which is planned to result in setting up at least 250,000 units, are only for rooftop photovoltaic systems that are paired with batteries. The public call for individuals, small businesses and farmers is expected to be issued by mid-March.
Only condition is to secure connection to power distribution grid
Skrekas said batteries would be subsidized with up to 100%, compared to a maximum 60% with photovoltaics. There is a separate category for vulnerable households. The only condition is that potential beneficiaries secured a grid connection from distribution system operator HEDNO, also known by its Greek acronym DEDDIE.
The mechanism is for net metering, which is a system of compensation in electricity. The prosumer, the owner of the photovoltaics that were installed for own consumption, delivers excess power to the network and draws it back when his demand exceeds production.
Greece has set aside EUR 700 million so far for grants for solar power with batteries for own consumption
The plan envisages at least 100,000 units would be installed on rooftops of homes and 75,000 in both other categories. The government has earmarked EUR 700 million for subsidies but the sum may grow depending on the availability of European and other funds.
According to earlier announcements, the limit for small solar power systems is 10 kV. The logic behind the exclusion of photovoltaics without batteries is that, due to high electricity prices, such systems now become profitable relatively soon even without subsidies.
Rooftop photovoltaics are clogging distribution grid but batteries to partly relieve pressure
HEDNO has reserved 2.5 GW in grid capacity for the rooftop photovoltaics program and there will also be room for local authorities, particularly for giving the produced energy away to vulnerable households, the Greek media reported.
There should also be a public call for irrigation pumps powered by solar panels for rural areas. Conversely, HEDNO and IPTO (ADMIE), the transmission system operator, aren’t keeping up with demand and there is little capacity for utility-scale power plants even though massive investments in the electricity network are underway.
The utility-scale battery project pipeline in Greece already exceeds 25 GW
Batteries relieve some of the pressure. The corporate sector is developing hundreds of projects, with the combined capacity of permit applications exceeding 25 GW.
Skrekas earlier said the government paid EUR 8 billion last year in subsidies for power bills. Only 30% was directly from the state budget as the rest was obtained through the windfall tax, he explained. The government also managed to lower prices for consumers by imposing restrictions on contracts with suppliers that had a variable cost rate. Greece is covering 100% of the increase in electricity prices for vulnerable households, the minister stressed.
Rules, incentives for matching green energy projects with storage are gaining ground in Balkans
Neighboring Turkey has allowed investors developing energy storage systems to build a matching wind and solar power capacity. It received applications for renewable energy facilities with storage with a stunning 67.3 GW in total capacity in the first two weeks after introducing the rule.
In Bulgaria, companies that apply for grants in an upcoming program for photovoltaics for own consumption will be obligated to install batteries. Slovenia recently issued a public call for subsidies for households for rooftop solar systems. The grants will be ten times higher than for solar panels without storage.
One of the biggest novelties within the proposed changes to the Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources in Serbia is the possibility for transmission system operator Elektromreža Srbije (EMS) to demand from investors, as a requirement for grid connection, to ensure additional capacity including batteries.