Solar Power in Bulgaria
The push for continued green energy projects is quite present in Bulgaria but the use of solar energy systems is not as high as it is in Western Europe. Although the government is promoting and offer incentives, the popularity of the systems have not been so high. The cost of electricity in Bulgaria has been far lower than many other parts of Europe and this has been a stumbling block for many investors in the past because this gives them no reason to make an investment in the solar installation. Now that the utility prices in this country are now more aligned with the rest of Europe, the Government has introduced new and more attractive incentives to encourage solar use.
There are many old solar panel installations in Bulgaria, especially along the Black Sea coast and due to the growth and transformation of the region due to tourism; the Government is investigating ways to encourage home owners and business users to take advantage of these installations. Many of these systems have been left in a poor neglected state and have been unused for an extended period of time. Even though government incentives are now available for solar installations, the country’s financial institutions have maintained a very strict lending criterion. This rules out a high percentage of the countries home-owners due to the documented financial problems within the country.
This financial situation is one of the major reasons why the Solar Energy market has not looked so favorable in Bulgaria even though parts of Bulgaria do have a climate which ideally lends itself to the solar panel market. With the cost of rejuvenating the present solar panel projects within the country it is estimated that the period of time required to recoup the initial investment for an average size solar system would take approximately 8 years. Together with the financial limitations many investors are reluctant to get involved and find alternative funding methods. The costs of the newer projects are relatively cheap and the average cost of a system is $250 to $290 per square meter which is comparatively low due to the availability and the present technology so this adds to the investment capital making the older project cost prohibitive.
According to the Bulgarian reports the consumption of renewable energy in Bulgaria reached just short of 10 per cent of the total energy produced in the country in 2009. With continuing efforts to meet the directives of the E.U. ongoing efforts for the production and consumption of renewable energy must continue to reach 20% goal. The output of energy from renewable sources has increased in 2010 largely due to the wind turbines and present solar parks. A Bulgarian firm Solarpro built a solar park near Malko Turnovo producing 2.4MW, and it contemplates the construction on two larger solar parks with combined capacity of 20MW to be completed by the end of 2010.
Dennis Michael Gannon
Gannon & Gannon Ltd.