Renewable sources of energy is one of the most pertinent issues of today’s society and especially in the word of technology. Known as it is, solar photovoltaic technologies are in the highlight. Therefore, regarding solar energy, people in Greece have an advantage or two. This is an advantage that Mr. Michailidis and the other two partners of his, used to their own profit, but collective national one, as well, creating a really remarkable photovoltaic – solar park.
You can imagine, DUTH SB IAS Chapter could not waste the chance to visit one of the biggest solar parks in the Balkans (the largest one in Balkans consisting of Trackers) stationed outside of the city Kavala, a half an hour distance from Xanthi. Thus, on November the 17th, 2015, we organized a truly successful academic visit there, in order to learn about this state-of-the-art endeavor, and as it turned out, the entrepreneurial process of making it a reality. One that
A characteristic that gives an edge to this park, is that photovoltaic panels are not rigidly mounted, but they have the ability to move; trackers are ‘in charge’ for their movement, which is oriented by the movement of the sun. Only a few photovoltaic parks do have this “tracker” asset already – a really expensive system that in turn favors efficiency.
In addition, an interesting part of this facility is the amount of the electrical energy that can pay off. The effectiveness of the 2MWs is an elusive number for ordinary photovoltaic parks in Greece – and Balkans. The long-lasting projection of such an effectiveness is about 15 years for the initial investment. Past those ten years, the park would still be efficiently functional for an approximation of 10 more years, yet with significantly reduced estimated profits. Overcoming this extended time span, the initially placed system is actually productive anymore.
Nevertheless, in the recent crisis-struck Greek reality, the investors have not been able to achieve the promised financial return, as governmental policies have struck the price deals over-and-over again. When the idea of creating such a revolutionary operation was cashed, about 2008, a kilowatt-hour could be sold for 0.44€ to the national electrical grid. Nowadays it is worth 0.12€ and the circumstances cannot foresee a fixed price as governmental taxation policies have caused a real issue. We were actually informed, that such a low price as the one mentioned last, could lead to be non-profit (as is) for either the investors (the park) or the Hellenic Public Power Corporation (HPPC, DEI), but would still be overall worth investing for the HPPC as the dangers of EU fines would be more significant.
Following a truly outstanding entrepreneurship background story, Mr. Michailidis himself narrated to us, we were able to realize the current market reality in Greece, and understand the steps needed for an individual to achieve such an investment. One that can actually sometimes prove to be less, or even more profitable, as governmental laws and policies can impact the whole endeavor, even more significantly than the technical part of it.
Moreover, we were informed that current economic circumstances would most times prove an attempt like this, not that much worth investing, as noted by the investors. The initial projection of the investment, was assumed to be no more than 5 years, however bureaucracy in Greece delayed the investment for more than a few years, enough for the economic crisis to hit Greece and set a new barrier for all the numbers. As a result, this 5 years projection, later to be a 5-7 years long term payback, is still in question.
It seems worth mentioning, that environmental protection is a priority to all future technology programs. We are all keen to see more efforts like this solar park investment, and let us all hope to continue working on it. Educational Trips like this, amongst all, put allot of our members into consideration about the future of this planet, as the revolution of technology is often acting like an opponent and not an ally, to the viability of this world. We want to offer a sincere gratitude to Mr. Michailidis for making this visit both possible and worth repeating.
by Eirini Tzampazidou