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Greece is World’s Second in Solar Energy Production Potential

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The latest report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) ranks Greece second in solar energy production potential. Credit: Wikimedia Commons / AleSpa CC BY 3.0

The latest report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) ranks Greece second in theoretical photovoltaic penetration, an index which reflects the world countries’ solar energy production potential at the end of 2022.

Spain tops the list at over 19 percentage, Greece and Chile follow with 17.5 and 17 percent respectively, leaving the Netherlands and former champion Australia behind, with percentages that exceed 15 percent each.

Greece has climbed up one position compared with the previous year’s index, when it scored 13.6 percent in solar energy penetration.

Since then, the country installed a further 1.4 GW capacity, the report observes, and is among the only nine countries that have photovoltaic penetration rates of over 10 percent, up from 7 in 2021.

The respective EU average is at 8.7 percent today.

In total, photovoltaic contribution amounts to 6,2 percent of the electricity demand in the world.

IEA experts believe that green recovery plans and better regulations could propel the photovoltaic industry far beyond the current installation trends to meet the Paris Climate Agreement.

Increased use of renewable energy sources in Greece

Now in its 11th edition, IEA’s annual photovoltaic penetration ranking is based on the theoretical electricity production from photovoltaics per country, calculated based on cumulative photovoltaic capacity at the end of 2022, close to optimum siting, orientation, and yearly weather conditions.

Whilst grid congestion has become an issue, policy measures, technical solutions and storage are already providing workable solutions to enhance photovoltaic penetration, the 2022 report notes.

Despite the major economic and logistic disruptions, the market’s resilience has been remarkable and “shows the potential of the technology to limit economic downturns and social damage brought on by regional or worldwide upheaval.”

Greece has been investing heavily on renewable energy in recent years, and islands like Tilos and Chalki have become self-energy-sufficient in an ongoing effort to transform Greek island communities into models of green economy, energy autonomy, digital innovation and ecological mobility.

Investments in production units as well as in transmission and distribution networks have led to an increasing penetration of green energy in the country’s energy mix overall.

The Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) had quadrupled the power of renewable energy sources activated in the distribution network by the end of 2022, compared to 2019.

An important renewable energy milestone was reached in October 2022, when the entire country managed to run entirely powered on renewable energy for the first time in its history, according to the independent power transmission operator (IPTO).

New technology makes solar energy accessible and effective

According to World Population Review, the origin of modern solar cells is traced back to 1954, when Bell Labs introduced the first photovoltaic device capable of producing a usable amount of electricity.

The energy crisis of the 1970s catapulted the interest in using solar energy both for domestic and industrial users, but the high manufacturing costs of solar cells, as a relatively new technology, made large-scale applications impractical.

New technologies applied in the manufacturing and functionality of solar photovoltaic cells over the years reduced their cost dramatically, including a decrease of more than 59% over the past decade.

The cost of solar panels and their installation has since become all the more affordable and effective for all types of users, although penetration varies greatly among different parts of the world.

Thanks to its being a clean, green, inexpensive, and renewable power, solar energy could solve the global energy crisis and save humanity from the negative impacts of fossil fuels.

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