German and Greek electric utilities have decided to build 280 MW of new solar capacity in Greece’s former coal region in Western Macedonia. This is in addition to solar farms the two utilities are already jointly building in the country, in pursuit of their 2 GW solar target for former Greek mines.
RWE and PPC plan to build the Amynteo Cluster II, which include three new PV projects with a total capacity of 280 MW. The will complete the installations through their joint venture, Meton Energy S.A., which is 51%-owned by RWE Renewables. Construction is set to start in the fall, with commissioning scheduled for next year.
The investment has been estimated at €196 million ($214.5 million) with €98 million to come from the European Union’s post-pandemic recovery fund. The companies are securing about €59 million of the total in the form of commercial debt from several Greek lenders – Alpha Bank, Eurobank, and the National Bank of Greece – in addition to €39 million of shareholders’ equity.
“The financing is subject to financial close,” said the companies in a press release.
The Amynteo Cluster II will not participate in the country’s renewable energy tenders. They will be remunerated via 15-year-long power purchase agreements (PPAs) with PPC. Konstantinos Mavros, chief executive of PPC Renewables, has spoken to pv magazine in the past about plans to build subsidy-free solar farms that sell electricity to PPC via PPAs.
PPC Renewables was the first utility to start working on subsidy-free projects in Greece – a market segment that has progressed slowly. However, this trend is now shifting as several PPA-backed projects are currently underway in Greece.
There is no doubt that under Mavros’ leadership, PPC Renewables is taking the lead. A few months ago, pv magazine reported that Heron, a local Greek utility, signed 10-year and 12-year PPAs with RWE and PPC’s joint venture, Meton Energy. These PPAs pertain to a different portfolio of solar plants currently under construction.
RWE and PPC’s plan for Greece is to develop 2 GW of solar capacity in the country’s former lignite regions, such as Western Macedonia. This aligns with Greece’s target to establish 3 GW of solar in mining regions.
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