Experts call for heavy subsidization of photovoltaic energy production

The government intends to pursue an aggressive policy in promoting renewable energy sources (RES), by providing strong incentives and facilitating the spread of the most innovative technological applications, such as photovoltaic systems (PVS) which can tap Greece’s abundant sunlight, Deputy Development Minister Giorgos Salagoudis said yesterday. He was speaking at the annual congress of the Brussels-based European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), which was held in Athens for the first time. Speakers agreed on the urgency for Europe to minimize its dependence on polluting imported fuels, particularly at a time when the price of oil is threatening the stability of its entire economic edifice. Greek participants urged the government to bring incentives for the use of PVS in energy production and their spread to domestic uses up to par with other European countries. The president of the European Renewable Energy Council, Professor Arthouros Zervos, called for strong subsidization of the purchase and installation of PVS in homes – which would ensure that the investment paid itself off in a reasonable time – and of the price of electricity when it is produced with PVS and fed into the national grid. Greece is in penultimate position in terms of installed PVS capacity among EU nations. The national program for reducing greenhouse-effect gases envisages the installation of a capacity of 15 megawatts in PVS but only 3.25MW had been installed by the end of 2003. Salagoudis said an estimated 4 billion euros will be required for achieving a 20 percent contribution by RES to the country’s energy needs by 2010.