Conergy finishes Greek PV trio

German PV group Conergy has brought three 500kW PV arrays on line in Greece, as integrators and module suppliers continue to view the sunny Mediterranean country as a key growth market – despite its ongoing economic woes and incentive claw-backs.

Hamburg-based Conergy acted as principal contractor for two of the arrays in Boeotia, a region in central Greece, while supplying components – including 6,200 of its P Series modules – for the third array, in the Karditsa region.

Loss-making Conergy is at the forefront of a growing list of developers, contractors and investors targeting the Greek PV market, which likely added more than 700MW last year, making it one of the country's fastest growing industries.

Italy’s TerniEnergia commissioned more than 55MW of Greek PV capacity last year, while less than two weeks ago Canada’s DayStar Technologies agreed to buy seven PV arrays from Greek construction firm Arxikon.

The surge of interest in Greek solar projects is partly a reflection of falling demand in the core European markets of Italy and Germany, but also underscores the market shift towards sunny countries with fast-rising power prices.

The Greek PV boom comes in spite of ongoing efforts by Athens to reduce the country’s renewables-related financial liabilities, including a controversial bill late last year that would claw back a quarter of revenues from existing PV arrays built over the past few years.

While the industry has fought the cuts, some analysts believe the government's actions may actually help the domestic PV sector over the medium term by helping to get the country’s power sector back on a more stable footing. Last month Greece, which has spent several years at the centre of the eurozone crisis, saw its credit rating upgraded to “stable” by the Standard & Poor’s ratings agency.

“The economic situation in Greece is still very difficult,” acknowledges Stefanos Melissopoulos, managing director of Conergy Greece.

However, “a solar power plant is one of the safest investments in our country”, Melissopoulos says, adding, “we feel we can be optimstic about the future of our industry”.