Getting ready to invest in solar energy

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The EBRD is assessing the market for photovoltaic technology in its countries of operations.

In most of the EBRD countries of operations buildings account for up to 40 per cent of energy consumption and lack modern energy-saving measures. A very promising solution to this problem is through the use of rooftop mounted or building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) technology, which transforms solar energy into electricity.

This technology allows energy produced to be used not only in the building itself but also to provide an energy surplus which can be sold back into the grid for external distribution.

Saving and producing energy

The EBRD is exploring the market potential to invest in this type of renewable energy technology which is relatively new in its countries of operations. Rooftop photovoltaic (PV) and BIPV are suitable for small-scale renewable energy projects, which could be applied to both new and existing buildings. However, legal and regulatory constraints, shortage of long-term finance as well as a lack of information and a fragmented structure in the construction industry represent real barriers to their widespread introduction in the region.

Market assessment

A first technical cooperation (TC) assignment, conducted in 2011 in Croatia, Hungary, the Slovak Republic and Turkey and funded by Taipei China, provided the Bank with a thorough overview of technical aspects and market conditions for solar applications, including an analysis of the current regulatory framework for both PV and BIPV.

A similar TC, also funded by Taipei China, is currently assessing the market for roof-mounted solar PV and BIPV in Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia. Recent developments in the regulatory framework for renewable energy in these countries make the study very timely. The project will also help identify the commercial return for property developers ready to invest in building-integrated photovoltaic projects and possibly pave the way for future EBRD investments.

The Bank’s Property and Tourism team, which invests in commercial real estate projects, is assessing several development projects that contain a rooftop PV element. For example, in Romania the roof of a warehousing park could accommodate up to 6 MW of photovoltaic capacity, indicating a significant second revenue stream for the asset’s owners and similar installations and possible benefits are being assessed for retail facilities in the country.

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