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EU Greenlights Greece’s €1 Billion Aid for Solar Energy Projects

Solar Energy Greece
By the end of the decade, the total installed capacity in Greece could more than triple to 29.6 GW. Solar power facility. Public Domain

The EU executive approved on Tuesday under EU State aid rules Greece’s request to offer financial help for two solar energy projects in the country that are expected to increase output of renewable energy.

Greece plans to invest €1bn to support two landmark renewable energy production and storage projects to be completed by mid-2025.

The Faethon Project entails the construction of two photovoltaic units, each with a capacity of 252 MW, along with integrated molten-salt thermal storage units and an extra-high voltage substation.

This project aims to enable electricity generation during the day and to allow for the surplus energy to be stored. The surplus will be converted into electricity to be used during times of peak consumption, such as evenings and nights.

The Seli Project entails the construction of a 309 MW photovoltaic unit with an integrated lithium-ion battery energy storage system. This project aims to optimize electricity generation and grid stability.

The EU Commission said the aid will be paid annually over 20 years.

Both projects are expected to increase the annual net renewable energy in the Greek electricity mix by approximately 1.2 TWh. This represents around 2.1 percent of Greece’s total electricity production in 2020, EU Commission said.

In addition, the two projects will boost renewable energy production by 8 percent compared to 2020 levels. The storage units in both projects will help decouple electricity dispatch from production, thereby mitigating the intermittent nature of solar power and enhancing the stability of the Greek electricity grid, it added.

Record increase in solar energy capacity in Greece

Greece saw a record increase in its solar power capacity last year, helping establish the country among the Top 10 European Union members tapping the sun to meet their energy needs.

According to a new report by industry association Solar Power Europe, Greece’s total installed capacity last year grew by 20% with 1.6 Gigawatt of installed capacity added.

By the end of the decade total installed capacity could more than triple to 29.6 GW, the report added, faster than projected under the Greek government’s national energy strategy.

“The Greek solar photovoltaic (PV) market has gained tremendous momentum, which is expected to continue for the next few years,” the report notes.

“In 2022, 1.4 GW of new PV projects were connected to the grid, bringing the cumulative capacity to 5.5 GW. This was the best performance ever for the Greek solar sector. Still, it looks modest if compared with the expected performance of the market in 2023, which should bring online around 1.6-1.7 GW of solar capacity.”

Under Greece’s revised National Energy & Climate Plan (NECP) from last year, the government foresees 13.4 GW installed PV capacity by 2030. That is almost double the 7.7 GW target that was embodied in the previous NECP.

Related: Greece Set to Become Major Energy Exporter to Europe

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