Greek businesses, households shift to solar power amid energy crisis

by IANS |

Athens, Dec 6 (IANS) Facing soaring electricity and natural gas bills, Greek companies and households are turning to solar power en masse this year to cope with the ongoing energy crisis.

With more than 250 days of sunshine per year, Greece is rich in renewable solar energy potential.

According to a recent report by the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies (HELAPCO), the output of the new photovoltaic projects that are interconnected with the grid rose by 59 per cent from 838 MWh (megawatt hours) in 2021 to an estimated 1,340 MWh by the end of 2022, reports Xinhua news agency.

The total of interconnected photovoltaic installations in operation in Greece now reaches 5,466 MWh.

In Greece's energy transition, medium-sized photovoltaic investors (10-1,000 kW projects) represent 71 per cent of the total market, large projects (over 1MW) 22 per cent and small investors 7 per cent.

Stergiou Family S.A., one of the largest producers and distributors of confectionery and bakery products in Greece, took the plunge this summer.

The company installed a Chinese-made 250-1,000 kW photovoltaic system, interconnected with the grid, on the rooftop of their factory at their headquarters in Acharnes, an Athens suburb.

"Solar panel installation with the principle of net metering enables us to utilize 100 percent of the power generated by the panels," George Delis, factory manager, told Xinhua.

"Our factory covers up to 30 per cent of its daily energy needs through the panels. On idle days, like Sundays or national holidays, the energy produced can be fed back to the public grid," he said.

By switching to photovoltaics, Delis said the company could reduce not only its operating costs but also its carbon footprint amid the intense energy crisis.

The Greek government is scheduled to unveil a series of subsidy programs in the coming months to support the public's shift to rooftop photovoltaic panels, the Energy and Environment Ministry said recently.

A 200-million-euro ($207 million) program is to be launched in early 2023, which will subsidize 10 kW rooftop solar panels combined with power storage (batteries) up to 60 per cent.

Those who choose to install photovoltaic systems without batteries will receive smaller subsidies (around 30 per cent), the Ministry said.

Thirty per cent of the program is planned to concern farmers (about 70,000 beneficiaries), 30 per cent small and medium-sized businesses and 40 per cent (some 100,000) households, according to Energy and Environment Minister Kostas Skrekas.

The Ministry has also announced two other subsidy programs, one to promote self-generation by businesses and another to help energy communities support vulnerable consumers.

Skrekas said that demand is expected to be high, as businesses and households are looking for ways to reduce their energy costs.

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