With traditional European markets fading (or at least trying to fade, in Germany’s case), developers and manufacturers are scouring the globe for prospects in new and emerging markets. While many developers are turning to more obvious growth markets such as Japan or India, some more ambitious developers are turning to an often-overlooked bastion of solar hope: Romania. GTM Research provided a deep dive into the booming Japanese solar market earlier this year, and will be releasing reports covering the Latin American and Middle East/ North African solar markets later this year, but will focus on the growth prospects of the Romanian PV market in this market highlight.
Romania has nearly identical irradiance levels as Germany, a fact that may surprise many in the PV world.
Figure 1: Solar Irradiation Map
While Romania is relatively new to the renewable energy scene, there have been impressive developments in the market of late. These developments have been driven primarily by policies put in place to promote EU emission-cutting goals. For example, in 2009, less than 15 megawatts of wind capacity was connected to the grid, but due to an aggressive renewable energy law passed in April of 2009, nearly $2 billion has been invested to develop over 1 gigawatt of new wind in the past three years. There haven’t been many major solar installations to date, mainly due to a lack of proper support and policy clarity, but after an emergency order adjusting the renewable energy law in 2011 (which was ratified in April of 2012), the solar market in Romania has exploded.
Solar installations qualify for six “Green Credits” per megawatt-hour of electricity produced. These green credits operate as a renewable energy credit, similar to systems in New Jersey and Massachusetts. The current floor for these green credits is $34.7 per megawatt-hour and the current roof is $70.7 per megawatt-hour, meaning that each solar system will receive a funding of an incentive of at least $20.8 per megawatt-hour produced for fifteen years. For large systems, this is nearly twice the incentive available in Germany.