02 July 2013 – Conergy is building its first rooftop plant in Romania with a capacity of 540 kilowatts. The plant is being installed on the 8,200 square metre warehouse rooftop of one producer for soft drinks in the metropolis of Bucharest, in the district of Titan some 10 kilometres east of the city centre. Conergy is responsible for the planning and engineering of the solar plant as well as the supply of the modules and inverters and supports its customer in the project management and commissioning. After two free-field solar power plants with a respective capacity of 2.2 and 2 megawatts, this rooftop installation is already Conergy's third solar project in Romania. It will also be cost-effective under the new Romanian legislation on support for green power, which just came into force on 1 July 2013.
Some 2,200 Conergy "P-Series" modules will deliver around 566,000 kilowatt hours of green power per year, which 17 inverters will feed into the local electricity grid. That is sufficient to supply more than 160 households in the Romanian capital. At the same time, the Conergy plant will prevent the emission of around 280 tonnes of damaging CO2 each year, equivalent to the amount that 28 hectares of forest could absorb over the same period of time.
Conergy MD Sofia: "We hope that the new law will restore greater planning security."
"With its quota model and the issuing of "Green Certificates", Romania has made strenuous efforts to drive the expansion of renewable energies forward in the last twelve months. This year, as much as 14% of electricity is to come from renewable sources, and the target is close to 20% for 2019," said Giuseppe Sofia, who, as the Managing Director of Conergy Italy, is also responsible for the Romanian solar market. "But there has been great uncertainty in the market over the last few weeks due to the political discussion on state support. We hope that the new legislation will now provide for greater planning security – not just for us as a company but also above all for our customers and investors as well as for projects that are in the planning phase."
The Conergy plant will not rely on a feed-in tariff for profitability but on so-called "Power Purchase Agreements" (PPAs) and "Green Certificates". With these PPAs, the energy provider purchases solar power at a fixed price. To fulfil the quota of green electricity demanded by the state, energy providers also require a certain number of "Green Certificates". If they do not reach the required quotas, the energy providers must purchase the missing certificates. Certificates that could not be sold during the course of the year will be bought by the national energy regulation authority ANRE (Autoritatea Nationala de Reglementare in domeniul Energiei, ANRE) at the fixed minimum price.
Due to the increasing electricity prices that utilities pass on to private households and businesses as a result of the trade in certificates as well as the expected costs from the buy-back of certificates by ANRE, the government has now taken savings measures. Currently, power plants with a total capacity of up to 10 megawatts are receiving six certificates for each renewable megawatt hour for a period of 15 years. However, the new bill only envisages four of the six certificates being issued immediately and the remaining two being hold back until the spring of 2017. Also, solar plants installed on land that is currently in agricultural use or declared as such are no longer to receive any "Green Certificates" in the future. The bill also provides for restrictions in the trade in certificates. The plan is that trading is to take place centrally in the market of energy provider OPCOM.
The bill just came into force on 1 July 2013. In addition, the national energy regulation authority plans to reduce the support to three certificates per megawatt hour of green power in the medium term. Further planned changes include a restriction of the expansion corridor in line with government energy targets.