Greece’s energy communities can help battle energy poverty, said participants at a special event on Thursday that marked the launch of the Greek-Turkish Solar Energy Excellence Hub to Advance the European Green Deal, an EU-funded project known as “SolarHub”.
SolarHub’s overall objective is to strengthen connections between and scale-up 5 Greek and Turkish solar energy innovation ecosystems as a single, hybrid, cross-border, and interconnected Solar Energy Excellence Hub with an emphasis on agriculture applications.
Georgios Karagiannakis, principal researcher at the Centre for Research & Technology Hellas (CERTH), which is leading the SolarHub project in Greece with Electra Energy, a Social Partnership Enterprise. Karagiannakis explained that the SolarHub consortium comprises 21 partners (7 Greek, 11 Turkish and 3 European ones), including academia, business, public authorities and societal actors. The program will run for 4 years (Jan. 1, 2023 – Dec. 31, 2026) and has a budget of nearly 5 million euros.
Elaborating on Greece’s energy communities, Vice-President of Electra Energy, Dimitris Kitsikopoulos, said that some 1,400 energy communities have been created in Greece since a Greek law green-lighted a European Commission directive in 2018. Of these, 1,360 were created by big investors and 40 by citizens who actively participate in the program, “as required in this collective model,” he added. Energy communities include citizens, small and medium-sized enterprises, and local government agencies, he explained.
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Underlining the benefits of citizens participating in energy communities, he said that “by buying a 3.1% share of an energy community for 2,800 euros, one can secure an annual financial benefit of 500 euros in his account, through the virtual energy netting.”
Seeking diverse solar energy solutions, the European Commission’s SolarHub program aims to create targeted joint programmes between the two countries based on sound technological solutions, and to network with all major stakeholders in the targeted regions, according to the official site.