Earlier this week, Greece established the largest double-sided solar farm in Europe in Kozani, Macedonia, was built by Greece’s biggest oil refiner, Hellenic Petroleum (Helpe).
The two-sided, or bifacial, system of panels will supply power to 75,000 households and connect to the country’s power grid in the coming weeks.
“This project reflects our national goals for cheap and clean energy from the sun, from the wind, from the water,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at the park’s inauguration.
Mitsotakis promised to speed up permits for renewable energy projects, including the construction of large-scale offshore wind parks as the country seeks to wean itself off costly imported fossil fuels that lead to increased pollution.
“Greece will become a protagonist in the field of renewable energy sources. It will adopt new innovative technologies,” Mitsotakis added.
New solar farm to reduce natural gas imports in Greece
According to Helpe’s CEO Andreas Siamisis, the total benefit from the reduction in natural gas imports by the new solar farm in Kozani is estimated to be about 80-100 million euros annually. Additionally, he said, the park is designed to:
- produce 350 GW hours of clean energy every year, equivalent to the consumption of 75,000 households
- provide income for local government, households, and businesses amounting to 600,000 euros per year
- reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 300,000 tons per year, corresponding to 110,000 hectares (1.1 mln stremmas) of forest
- reduce energy costs at the national level, as the price at which energy will be sold in the system will be fixed at 57.72 euros per MWh for the next 20 years.
As Siamisis added, the photovoltaic investment totaled 130 million euros with a national added value share of 35 pct, while during its construction, 350 jobs were created.
Greece aims to just about double its installed capacity from renewables to about 19 gigawatts by 2030. This could be revised upwardly as part of the European Commission’s fresh drive to accelerate the transition to green energy in order to end reliance on Russian gas by 2027, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Hellenic Petroleum is one of the largest oil companies in the Balkans but claims to be undergoing a transformation into clean energy. It has installed the largest solar park in Greece and also hints that it may add battery storage too.
Greece is in a race to diversify energy resources
Greece is in a race to reduce energy dependence on Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking recently in Parliament Mitsotakis said: “We cannot rule out attempts by Russia to blackmail. We all realize this… will disrupt global supplies and probably trigger a further rise in [energy] prices.”
Mitsotakis assured Parliament that his government is prepared for a “worst-case scenario where gas supplies from Russia are halted” as its liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility at Revythousa near Athens has recently been replenished.
“We are strengthening the diversification of our resources. In January, Greece covered 47% of domestic demand with LNG from Revythousa and 20% through the TAP pipeline,” Mitsotakis revealed.