Greece Wants to Be Europe's Solar Powerhouse

Last year we heard that Greece would pursue a plan to become Europe’s solar energy powerhouse while helping its dismal economy.

"Project Helios" would increase the country’s installed solar capacity to 2.2 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 and 10 GW by 2050.

It looks like it may be gaining steam.

SPI Solar (OTCBB: SOPW) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to design and build 23 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar plants, as part of a goal to build 100 MW across Greece. The initial 23 MW are fully permitted and ready for construction, and scheduled for completion late this year or early next year.

The MOU is with The Taneo Fund, a Greek-state sponsored, privately funded and independently managed fund-of-funds that makes venture-capital investments in Greece and Europe.

Two funds that participate in Taneo – Thermi-Taneo Venture Capital Fund and AIMS-Taneo Fund – will buy the equity and own the 23 MW of projects. SPI is arranging debt financing with Chinese solar firm, LDK Solar, whose modules will be used.

Greece has lagged on solar development with only 200 MW installed, but it wants to attract EUR 20 billion in solar investment in the years ahead.

The Project would cut the red tape that interferes with renewable energy development – it would make it easier for foreign investors to lease land, and remove administrative hurdles.

Greece averages 50% more solar radiation than Germany, with 300 days of sun each year. The country also has its sights on exporting solar energy to other EU countries.  

Greece currently gets about 8% of its energy from renewables, mostly wind.

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