‘Clean’ solar power out in the cold

Photovoltaic systems are among the most pioneering and environmentally friendly means of producing electrical energy, since the primary resource – the sun – is something found in abundance in Greece. But, these light-using systems are not being widely applied in Greece yet, because unlike other European countries, the Greek State does not subsidize their purchase and installation, so the cost to the consumer remains high. Similar to solar panels that heat water, they harness solar radiation and convert it to power. They are preferable to other alternative sources of energy for several reasons. A «smart» environmentally friendly solution, they really could help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in Greece and meet the targets set in the Kyoto Protocol. Photovoltaic generators installed in a building produce power that can be used along with the main power supply network. Any «surplus» power is channeled into the main supply, which gives it back to subscribers free of charge. It is ideal for isolated regions where houses can be powered solely by these systems, and are also able to store the surplus. «The Greek market in photovoltaic systems is still small – accounting for only 0.1 percent of all systems around the world, because subsidy programs like those found elsewhere have not yet been started up here,» ecologist Stelios Psomas, adviser to the newly founded Association of Photovoltaic Companies (SEF), said recently. The only public funds available are mainly from the Operational Program for Competitiveness (EPAN) and additional funds made available through the National Development Law.