Every fourth Greek household gets its hot water from heating with the sun. The solar market, however, stagnated in 2010. Substantial support mechanisms are needed to fulfil the objectives of the National Renewable Energy Action Plan.
Photo: Joachim Berner
As of January 2011, all new buildings in Greece have to cover at least 60 % of their domestic hot water demand by solar technology. This regulation is part of law L3851/2010 to implement Directive 2009/28/EC, “on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources”, in combination with L3661/2008, which is part of the implementation process of the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). The Greek Solar Industry Association (EBHE) welcomes the regulation, which could bring the solar thermal market back on track. The newly installed collector area in 2010 stagnated on a low level after the market decreased by 31 % in 2009. EBHE estimates 2010 market volume at 207,000 m2. The new building regulation is said to expand solar market opportunities significantly, as more than half of the new buildings were installed with electric or gas water heaters.
But as the number of new building permits is declining, many more measures need to be taken to reach the ambitious objectives of the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP), according to EBHE. The Plan calculates with a doubling of the solar heating and cooling share in the renewable heating business. The National Renewable Energy Source Industry Roadmap, published by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), states that besides the building regulations, “a new fiscal framework would additionally assist market development”. Greece has already had good experiences with financial measures back in the 1980s when a deduction from the taxable income of end users and low-interest loans significantly expanded the solar thermal market. The NREAP, in contrast, only stipulates financial measures to support biomass and geothermal energy. However, the solar thermal industry should not expect any further incentives in its favour.
EBHE was formed in 1979. It currently has 50 permanent members. An extraordinary assembly in December decided that full members can only be collector, storage and system manufacturers. System suppliers, planners, installation companies and material suppliers can join the association as associated members without voting rights.