Romania has an estimate population of 19 million. The country’s economy is picking up thanks largely to household consumption, although high inflation rates remain prevalent nationwide. The Romanian GDP growth registered 4.096% in 2018. Romania earns Baa3 from Moody’s and BBB- from Standard & Poor’s. Both credit ratings indicate a stable economic outlook.
Romania has a continental climate. However, because of geographical factors, the country’s climate also possesses Mediterranean characteristics.
The average temperature in Romania is 0–5 °C during winter and 25–30 °C during summer.
Romania receives an annual solar radiation of 1,300–1,500 kWh/m2.
Romania has met the EU’s target of achieving a 24% share of renewables within the energy mix by the end of 2020. Recently, the Romanian government is working with the EU to draw up a renewable energy plan for 2021–2030, with the latest draft setting the 2030 target of sourcing 27.9% of electricity from renewable sources.
At present, hydropower accounts for the largest share of renewable energy installations in Romania, followed by 27% of wind power and 12% of solar PV power. However, constraints imposed through policymaking on the amount of green energy produced has sent Romania’s renewables into a lengthy period without progress and led to no significant growth in the number of renewables installations these past years.
The Romanian government is due to promulgate an update on its energy policy at the end of 2019, when the new target of renewable energy generated will be announced, and it would be worth a look at whether the government will launch contingency plans for renewables development.
The Romanian government used to promote renewables development actively. It made “Law No. 220/2008” to establish a scheme for trading green certificates. This scheme, under which 1 MWh of PV power generated could be exchanged for six green certificates, empowered the domestic PV industry to soar. However, having met the EU’s target of the share of power from renewables ahead of time, the government revised the scheme by offering just three green certificates in exchange for 1 MWh of PV power produced. With such a weaker incentive—coupled with a glut of green certificates issued that led their prices to crash and the difficulty for the PV industry and other renewables sectors to lure investment—Romania’s renewable energy market no longer sees the certificates traded as frequently as they used to be. Domestic demand for renewables has declined and even stagnated.
Romania has recently shifted its focus to distributed PV projects. Under the rule, excess electricity generated from solar systems with capacity ≦ 100 kW can be sold to Enel, CEZ, E.ON, and Electrica in return for subsidies. Sometime in mid-2018, the government offered tax reduction on PV projects with generation capacity ≦ 27 kW.
In January 2019, Romania's Environment Fund Administration announced a scheme to provide cash subsidies for the implementation of residential and C&I distributed PV projects. Anyone who intended to join the scheme had to submit an application before March. Those deemed eligible for the scheme would receive a subsidy of up to RON 20,000.
As mentioned earlier, the Romanian PV market has long been stuck in recession. The government has put forward a net-metering policy in hopes of improving demand for distributed projects, although how that policy will turn out remains to be seen.
Romania-China trade: module import and export
China shipped less than 5 MW of modules to Romania during 2017–2019, with the domestic PV market remaining stagnant and the net-metering policy yet to deliver outcomes. The country is expected to set a new renewable energy target by the end of 2019. When that target is set, it remains to be seen whether the whole PV market will recover.
Since 2014, the Romanian PV industry has been in the doldrums. Although the government recently implemented a net-metering policy to stimulate demand for rooftop PV, the policy’s outcomes are yet to be determined. Romania may update its energy policy by the end of 2019, when the target of electricity produced from renewables will be revised upward and demand for green energy may increase.
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