Portugal Solar Impossible Without Subsidies Claims APREN

In spite of recent news from the government of Portugal stating solar subsidies are not needed to advance industry growth, José Manuel Medeiros Pinto, general secretary of the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association (APREN) responded, saying solar cannot work without financial support in current market conditions.

Following Portugal approving 180MW of unsubsidized solar PV production, Pinto sees subsidized renewable electricity production is still needed to spur solar development.

Portugal solar shutterstock_117384235“We think this is quite impossible to construct PV power plants in the energy market without any kind of rule or support or something that can make PV comparable with other thermal resources,” said José Manuel Medeiros Pinto, general secretary of APREN in a recent interview with pv-tech.

Pinto expects the market price next year to be around €40/MWh on average, making it “impossible for a PV producer to survive.”

The Global Subsidies Initiative supports the importance of having subsidized development for renewable electricity:

“Renewable electricity generation is an essential part of a sustainable energy future. An increasing number of governments are subsidizing the deployment of renewable energy technologies for electricity generation and the growth of domestic industries.”

Not only is the €40/MWh estimate seen as a low price, solar developers also must pay taxes on estimated production, even if anticipated production falls below estimates.

APREN estimates that solar developers have to spend roughly €15-17/MWh on these taxes and deviation costs, leaving them returns of just €25/MWh.

Pinto said APREN does not agree with government’s policy for unsubsidized solar and would prefer tenders or a (CfD) Contracts for Difference-style support system for PV, which has been used in other countries.

According to pv-tech, Pinto cited present-day economic stagnation: “The government said they believe that solar PV can progress in the market with market rules, [but] we are in stagnation, we have stalled completely.”

Portugal’s total installed solar capacity at the end of 2015 was 451MW, according to APREN.

Image via Shutterstock

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