Hungary experiences record PV growth in 2018

Hungary faces a growth of 300 – 400 MW of PV capacity during 2018
The Hungarian solar market is on track to see record growth this year, with up to 400 MW of new capacity expected. This growth will be primarily driven by the FIT program, which closed in December 2016. Net metered PV installations up to 50 kW represent another key market driver, while C&I projects between 50 kW to 500 kW have ground to a halt.
This year’s growth are mainly driven by large-scale solar projects developed under the FIT scheme (KÁT), for which application deadline was end of 2016. Overall, these projects are expected to contribute between 200 MW and 300 MW of capacity, while net metered projects under 50 kW, will provide around another 100 MW.
According to the Hungarian Photovoltaic Industry Association (MANAP), the country’s cumulative installed PV capacity stood at around 310 MW, as of the end of December 2017. This means, if the forecast growth volumes are confirmed by official statistics, total installed PV power in the country may surpass 700 MW, or even reach 800 MW, by the end of this year.
While application to the KÁT FIT scheme closed in 2016, the deadlines by which projects may be developed, have been extended to 2020 across several stages, according to MANAP. This is allowing developers to take advantage of a huge pipeline of projects approved under the scheme – in April 2017 their combined capacity was around 2 GW – which is now progressively coming online. MANAP estimates, however, that just 40% to 70% of these projects will actually see the light of day, before the new deadlines expire. One of the main issues is a lack of qualified installers available to complete the approved projects in such a short period of time. The Hungarian government granted one year grace period to all PV projects approved under the FIT scheme at the end of 2017 to let them come online by 2019. This was extended by another year in the spring of 2018, however with slightly changed conditions which resulted in a little confusion on the market.
The current program for Hungary’s renewable energy – the Metár program – includes, in theory, an auction mechanism for large-scale renewable energy projects exceeding 1 MW. However, it is unclear when first auctions will be launched and how the auction scheme would in practice be implemented.