What Made Greece a Country with Renewable Energy Potential, Solar in Particular

Over the last decade, the renewable energy installations in Greece has been steadily increasing every year. As shown in Figure 1, this increase is two-fold over the decade. Hydropower and wind energy contributed the biggest slice of the share into the electricity mix in 2010 among renewables while this share has been grabbed by the increase of solar power from 2010 to 2019. In 2019, 8.3% of the electricity was produced by PV in Greece when it supplied about 2.8% of global electricity demand worldwide.

Figure. 1

The shares of different renewable energy sources in 2010 and 2019 was indicated in Figure. 2.

Figure. 2

In the last ten years, hydropower hasn’t seen any major increase in its total capacity. Hydropower cumulative capacity had been stagnant in three years in a row through 2015 to 2017.

The rise of solar installation in Greece began in 2009 because of a new policy, which promoted Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for PV systems. The cumulative solar capacity increased from 202 MW in 2010 to 2763 MW in 2019. This policy caused the market to accelerate from 2011 until the 10th of May, 2013. As of May 2013, the cumulative solar capacity rose up from 425 MW to 930 MW, close to two times. More than 1 GW of new PV system capacity were installed respectively. This rapid increase resulted in reaching Greece’s total cumulative solar capacity over 2.5 GW in 2014, as shown in Figure. 3. Out of this 2.5 GW, around 2.4 GW was installed on the Greek Mainland, and the rest on its other islands. This boom of solar power halted in 2014 due to the change in the above-mentioned policy and FiT for PV systems larger than 100 kWp. The solar power sector in Greece never experienced such a massive increase again.

Figure. 3

In 2019, Greece was one of the two leading EU countries for solar thermal installations. This method proved to be cost-effective, with a minimum of 60% of hot water share coming from this source. In other countries with ample sunlight using solar energy to provide hot water is becoming more popular. Greece was placed in the ninth rank in 2019 among the Top 20 countries based on the solar thermal capacity Added.

The story is continued in the second part…

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