Greek Incentive Program Lures Solar Companies

Two more North American companies have moved into the Greek solar market in response to the feed-in tariff and grant program passed there in 2006.

New York-based Clear Skies Solar, Inc. recently announced the establishment of a corporate office in the city of Larissa, in Central Greece. Partnering with Larissa-based Aspen Energy, whose focus is the procurement of solar energy business opportunities throughout Greece, Clear Skies Solar will provide Aspen with solar technologies and installation services.

Due to robust incentives, Greece has emerged as a promising market for solar power. In 2006, the country’s Parliament passed comprehensive Renewable Energy Sources legislation which provides grants, favorable tax treatment, and a €0.40-0.50 feed-in tariff as incentives for setting up business or installing solar-PV systems. For commercial entities, incentives in the form of grants can run as high as 50 percent of the total cost of a company’s solar system. The government’s goal is to install 700 megawatts of PV in the country by 2020.

“We are extremely enthusiastic about entering a country that represents one of the fastest-growing markets for solar energy,” said Clear Skies Solar Chairman and CEO Ezra Green.
Furthermore, the Calgary-based inverter company Sustainable Energy Technologies Ltd. (Sustainable) announced that it has signed a distribution agreement with ACE Power Electronics (ACEP) of Athens, Greece, to allow ACEP the non-exclusive right to distribute Sustainable’s products and services for the turnkey development solar PV systems throughout Greece.

While part of the program was halted last year due to a high level of activity, it is expected that the program will resume later this year, allowing Sustainable to ramp up business in the country.

ACEP has assembled a series of PV projects which are currently in the permitting process. The initial projects total 5.8 megawatts (MW). Sustainable will supply its inverters to these projects against purchase orders from ACEP, as the projects are approved. Assuming all the projects go ahead as planned, the total value of the deliveries would be approximately CAN $3.2 million.

“Greece has enacted a generous incentive program, consisting of feed-in tariffs and capital subsidies, but imposed a moratorium on approvals for capital subsidies shortly after announcement last year due to an unexpectedly high number of applications,” said Michael Carten President & CEO of Sustainable. “It appears that applications for subsidies are now being processed, and we are optimistic that this market will begin to realize its growth potential later this summer and that our deliveries will begin in September of this year.”
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