Application Perspectives of Solar Energy Systems in the Hellenic Tourist Sector

By E. Michalena¹, M. Souliotis² and Y. Tripanagnostopoulos²
November 2006

  1. Regulatory Authority for Energy, Athens 105 64, Greece
  2. Department of Physics, University of Patras, Patra 265 04, Greece

Presented at the 3rd International Conference on «Ecological Protection of the Planet Earth», 8-11 June 2005, Istanbul. → See also:

The work undertakes the wider application of solar energy systems in the Hellenic tourist sector, focusing on the hellenic Islands and considering these systems’ economic and social benefits. We study the widest possible integration of solar energy in the tourist sector and explain the reasons of this choice, taking into account the existing energy capacity of the islands. We suggest applications of solar thermal collectors and photovoltaics for the next years, considering a realistic scenario in order the EC target of Hellas for 2010 to be achieved. We present new cost effective solar energy systems, as they are the Integrated Collector Storage (ICS) solar water heaters, the solar collectors with colored absorbers and the hybrid photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) systems, which convert simultaneously the solar radiation into electricity and heat. The suggested systems could be cheaper and more practical compared to the typical solar energy systems and can be a solution to the wider application of solar energy in Hellas. Finally, we are referring to a market strategy for the improvement of the introduction of RES into the tourist sector of the hellenic islands, supporting proper, effective and beneficial planning, concerning the basic steps that are necessary to be done.

1. Introduction

The growth of population, the desire for comfort, material acquisition, mobility and communication, and access to the materials, processes and technology to meet such desires by an increasing number of people have brought, among other things rising energy demand and the incentives to meet that demand [1]. The use of renewable energy sources and the rational use of energy are the fundamental inputs for a responsible energy policy [2] with respect to the environmental protection. The optimization of efficiency, cost and aesthetic view of solar energy systems can contribute to the energy needs of residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, athletic centres, industry and other energy consumers. We have noticed that only 0.7 MW among 518 MW of a total operational installed capacity derive from photovoltaic systems connected to the Hellenic Grid, which in terms of produced energy it means 550 MWh out of a total of 1.357.874 MWh of Renewables [3]. Estimations by a potential wider application of solar energy systems in Hellas show that solar energy systems can contribute to the achievement of the targets that correspond to Hellas for 2010. More specifically, for the year 2010 it is estimated that a new installed capacity of 21 MW and energy production of 18.114 MWh, into a total of 4.895.034 MWh, could be produced by Photovoltaics. This could be the result of the cost reducing of photovoltaics together with their technological development [3].

The Hellenic tourist sector provides the opportunity for the wider application of solar energy systems and the islands are suitable locations for it. We focus our study on hellenic islands, using them as a representative model useful to demonstrate the economic and social benefits deriving from the use of solar energy systems. The covering of energy needs in these islands asks for a multidimensional and multitechnological application of solar energy systems under the restrictions that the exploitation of these natural source can influence the surrounding activities having at the same time consequences into the features of the tourist development. This is very important since the higher solar energy input is during the summer period, which coincides with the peak of the tourist period. The execution of such a perspective presupposes an aesthetic harmonisation of these systems into the islander architecture and landscape of the hellenic islands. In this paper we present new cost effective solar energy systems that have been investigated in the Physics Department of University of Patras. These systems include the water heaters of Integrated Collector Storage type, the solar collectors with the colored absorbers, the use of booster reflectors and the hybrid photovoltaic/thermal solar systems for simultaneous conversion solar radiation in electricity and heat. In addition, we are referring to a market strategy for the improvement of the introduction of solar energy systems, mainly of the photovoltaics, concerning the basic steps that are necessary to be done.

2. Benefits of Solar Energy Systems for Hellenic Islands

Renewable energies technologies in general have several benefits such as sustainability and security of energy supply, increased employment, long lifetime of energy systems etc [4,5]. Even if the cost of solar energy systems remains in high levels (although the 25% of their price reduction during the last five years), it seems to be in compliance with European and international commitments. This is due to the fact that solar technology is a very friendly one in environmental terms, especially for small islands which are considered as sensible ecosystems. This kind of technology is also highly important for the islander economies, because apart from the richness of abundant natural solar resources indicated in islands (more than 3.000 hours of sunlight all over Greece) [6], the Districts where these islands belong, present more and more increased rates of economic development [7] a fact which obliges the local authorities to enlarge their energy infrastructure.

Moreover, because of the small dimension of the islands, the different particularities in their economic and social development and their restricted communication with the mainland, islands create closed economies with an intense need of energy sufficiency and autonomy. Although tourism has accorded to the islands an important improvement of communication skills and capabilities and an important economic development, their basic socioeconomic features haven’t been turned over. On the other hand, the particularity of each islander District, the problems of the islands’ development and the deficits in infrastructures especially during the periods of tourist loads, demand the use of pure energy systems, under the condition certainly of the development of „currying energy capacity” of each island [a Principle founded by the Decisions 3406/01, 637/98, 247/03, 636/02 of the State Council]. The „currying energy capacity”, concerns the influences of energy equipments on many factors of the islander environment  (more energy for example, means the arrival of more tourists, so more charge on the island).

According this condition, the development of hellenic islands has to include a smooth and balanced economic and social development, which respects the particular conditions of the islands, doesn’t destroy their natural and cultural environment neither does it  reverse their basic traditional features, whereas (this development) attempts to combine in one hand the covering of the recent socioeconomic and energy needs of inhabitants and in the other hand the maintenance of a high level of life quality of visitors and residents. The same mild development is imposed whatsoever by the District Plan for the viable spatial development of the North Aegean’s District which has been developed for the period 2000-2015 as a result of the Hellenic Low 2742/1999. This economic and social development, respects the particular conditions of the islands which belong to this District and doesn’t destroy the natural and cultural environment neither neglects their basic traditional features. The principle of the islander sustainable development is founded (like the general principle of sustainable development) on the provisions of articles 24 and 106 of the Constitution.

Because of the increased tourist traffic during the summer months, the demand for energy is vertically increasing (almost 45%), whereas the biggest demand of power (peak) was noted for the year 2000 in the island of Ikaria (6.150 KW in the means of August). In the islands, air-conditioning at the summer-time absorbs the 35% of produced electric energy, whereas the Public Power Corporation of Greece appreciates that the annual energy demand will triple up to 2025 because of the continuous tourist growth with increased energy demand in particular during the summer months [8]. The peaks power on the other hand have demonstrated an altering from 27.500 KW for example (during the year 1995)  in Kos to 46.500 KW (during the year 1998) and from 15.800 KW (during the year 1995) to 20.500 KW (during the year 1998) in Santorini [9], having as a consequence – combined with the insufficient and inadequately maintained Grid and the high cost of their feeding in energy from external sources (the sum for PPC for the year 1998 was 205 M€ and reached 337 M€ in 2001 [10,11]) - major problems of inadequate energy provision in the islands. Solar Energy Systems offer credibility and increase of capacity’s quality since they are applied directly on the Networks, by regulating the energy peaks, reducing the losses of energy and avoiding the traffics in the Grid of islands. According estimations, the integration of PV systems in the Grid is equal to 25-30% of the optimum load of the System, without problems of cooperation of safety with the Grid. Needless to say, that the no further need for Networks’ creation leaves free amounts of money to be invested in other tourist needs.

Moreover, Solar Energy Systems (especially photovoltaic ones) offer the potential of extension, a critical point since the energy needs are changing all the time. They also offer the potential of storing the produced energy, especially if combined with wind generators forming hybrid complexes. Thus their use is convenient to cover energetically dispersed energy applications (agricultural, hothouses, hotels, units of desalination, etc), which are useful applications in periods of tourist loads, which vary however from island to island [11].

The most wide-spread form of Tourism, especially in the small islands, is the one of „Mass Tourism” which concerns the construction of hotel, transport and other infrastructures, a need which in combination with the challenge of competitiveness and the environmental worries which predominate in people’s conscience and which are also imposed by the European Union, offer a marvellous opportunity for the promotion of effective energy policies, the exploitation of RES and the reasonable usage of energy in the hotel sector. The direct application of Solar Energy Systems into buildings, make them identical for use in tourist accommodations (hotels, which present a total energy demand per year of 4.2 TWh [6]), lightening of pools or gardens, etc), for purposes of energy reinforcement with simultaneous protection of environment. European hotels consume 39 TWh of energy each year, while the medium total energy consumption for each hotel fluctuates from 250 KWh/m² for the small hotels until 450 KWh/m² for the bigger ones. The 61% of electric energy is consumed for heating and air-conditioning, the 25% for various services and the 15% for water heating. In Greece, the annual energy demand in the hotels has been estimated to be 4.2 TWh, which represents the 28% of total energy demand in the sector of – not domestic - buildings. The relevant size and percentage in France is 13.25 TWh (18%) while in Spain is 35% [6] Many successful attempts and examples by such a usage of RES and RUE technologies are reported in an international level by the Council of local environmental initiatives [12].

Solar Energy Systems are also preferred for aesthetic reasons, in order to avoid the negative phenomena of diesel machineries (smokes, chimneys, etc), especially if these systems are harmoniously implemented into the existing, local, natural particularities of the environment through good planning and wise environmental studies: Hellenic islands are characterized by particular morphological and territorial features, transformed human environment, rich cultural heritage and rich visible resources. This kind of features, transform these regions into poles of an international ecological and cultural heritage. For sensible ecosystems of this kind, the danger of visible disturbing is very important and needs a balanced handling. In order to avoid the ennoying results and due to the fact that hellenic islands are uniform entities consisted of islands of different local types, we realize that the essential here is to indicate the basic morphems. This formulate the multidimensional image a landscape of their differences and their comparative advantages at a first step, through a proper „Study of Emergence of the Local Physiognomy” [13]. Afterwards, their particularities through RES systems are pointed out, exactly as it happened in the old times with windmills which used to point out the particularities of each Cycladean island.

Finally, in a social level the use of Solar Energy Sources into the tourist islands results in the cultivation of a feeling of environmental responsibility and, the most important, in the assurance of labour posts. Photovoltaics are the most fast developing energy technology with rates of development bigger than 30% during the last six years and with a new installation capacity of 1.000 MW in the year 2004. In addition, the turnover of this industry was 5.8 billion of euros for 2004, whereas the estimation for 2010 is 25 billion of euros. 50.000 new labor posts have also been created for the year 2004, whereas the aim for 2020 is 2.3 million of labor posts! For a comparisons’ grace we can point out that according estimations on photovoltaics a labor post is created for 6.5 M€ of investment, whereas the same labor post is created for 17.7 M€ of investment in wind energy [14].

A further reason of the social positive effects of photovoltaics is the enriching of the local community funds, since according to the article 1 of the Common Ministerial Decision 2001 the "producers of electric energy from renewable sources of energy, are charged with special retributive end of height 2% on the price of sale of energy in favour of the Municipality or Community in the limits of which operate the RES’s systems" [15].

3. Further Use of Solar Energy Systems in Hellenic Islands

The islands concern the 4% of the European land and only the 13 million of European citizens [16]. Although the sense of the „sustainable development” is restricted in the islands, the production of pure energy is a result of the Protocol of Kyoto [17], the Directive 2001/77/ΕΚ of the European Union and the White Book of 1997 for the RES Strategy. Considering the above, the 12% of crude domestic consumption of energy has to be emanated from RES until 2010 (for Greece this percentage has been determined to be 20.1%). RES should be doubled in the energy balance of European Union, from 6% to 10% and buildings must follow some new energy rules [18].

The wonderful climate and the cultural heritage of Mediterranean countries have established her territories the most significant pole of tourist attraction, carrying the 30% of the international tourism (220 millions approximately of tourists per year, a population expected to increase at 50% next during the next 20 years [6]). For Hellas in particular, 113.000 inhabitants of Cyclades multiply by five every summer [19].

Due to their restricted space and resources and their long coasts, the reversal of the ecological balance could result in many successive negative consequences, so the environmental restrictions imposed by European Directives and Hellenic laws to the RES investors must be taken into account (for example, cases of NATURA 2000 [Directive of Ecosites 92/43/EC] or the Law 1650/1986 which emphasizes the protection of Landscapes of a particular natural beauty by  networks of soft activities and investments of development.

The rates of tourist development will be increased in an international level from 3%-4.5% in an annual basis [20] and the 75% of the international tourist expenditure is activated in European Union, which results to make tourism the largest international „industry” in terms of expenditures and in terms of job occupations as well [21]. Current trends whatsoever emphasize on the „promotion” of the special and alternative forms of tourism which develop a balanced and sustainable tourist development at a local level [22]. With the term tourist „sustainable” development we describe the tourist development, which is activated on a balanced mode into the local, social, economic, and environmental structure of every tourist region, through the continuous transformation and feeding of main conditions of living quality (services, infrastructures, know-how) [23]. The international dimension of the tourist sustainable development [24] imposes the planning of tourist activities based on local tourist resources, where part of them are the natural energy ones and in our case the solar energy [25].

The exploiting of the „maximum viable return” of the above mentioned resource (some others tourist resources are the environment, the climate, the festivals, the local tradition [24]) and its transforming into energy through energy equipments of an innovative character, comply with  the international guidelines for the environmental protection, the European Directives for the promotion of renewables, and the international new terms, and contribute to the most effective projection of a tourist area [24] as soon as the sens of the „carrying energy capacity” of a tourist area (and especially of an island) is respected. By the term of „carrying capacity” of a given tourist area we are referring to the capabilities of the socio-economic and environmental structure of a region to absorb a specific volume of infrastructures and tourists [25]. This term is essential specifically for islands where the ecosystems are sensible, the natural resources are restricted (the territories as well) and the coasts are large.

The exploitation of Solar Energy Systems towards the creation of a sustainable tourist development, could take the forms of the creation of innovative buildings, equipped with bioclimatic features, adjusted to the particular physiognomy of Hellenic islands (PV in blue colors), aiming at the same time at the saving of energy, especially in buildings used by tourists (hotels, etc) As it is known that the sector of buildings in Greece is responsible for the 36% of the final energy consumption and for the 40% of the gas emissions, it is estimated that the saving of energy can arrive at 60% when solar energy systems are used for heating and cooling purposes [9]. Besides, a new Community Directives have been placed into force with regard to the obligation of energy saving in the newly constructed buildings [39]. Applications like these, will increase the tourist attraction, as a result of the improvement of the aesthetic integration of solar energy systems into buildings, or generally speaking as a result of the rising of the visiting populations’ living’s standards.

Some other solar applications for the rising of life’s quality are the desalination of water and the agricultural greenhouses, where the energy consumed for heating and cooling represents the 1.5% of the whole energy consumption in Europe [26,27] and the production of vehicles, which will be fuelled through solar energy. Besides, it is estimated, that transports connected to tourismι consume the 3% of the total consumed energy in Europe, whereas the two thirds of tourists in the Mediterranean areas use their private vehicle for a number of movements, a fact which is translated to 110 million of passengers and  36 million of vehicles every year. The transports whatsoever are responsible for the 50% of the emissions into the atmosphere [28].

Moreover, and as far as the sustainable tourist development is concerned, and from an economic point of view the development of an alternative form of tourism (the one of energy congresses for example), which will be specified to the dissemination and exploitation of green energy issues in specially transformed areas equipped with solar energy systems, will attract tourists of a higher educative level and income, the consequent bluntness of the seasonal periods, the input of larger capitals and the social regional development. This fact will bring altogether the further exploitation of the European financing and the attraction of investments in the erection of PV projects on the tourist installations and activities. As a further consequence, the local economic development will be reinforced and the local population will be maintained. The creation of thematic (pure energy) parks of pure energy villages and consequently the forming of a particular marketing „image” of the area, through the installation and exploitation of RES. The creation also of energy museums with the projection of solar energy systems through their historical path, could be another interesting application of solar energy systems.

From a social point of view, the promotion of RES actions & incentives from local public and private institutions, at a central and local level, will strengthen their decision-making power, whereas the research and experience gained by the further installation of innovative technologies in the islander regions will forward the local population’s technical capabilities and the decrease of Solar Energy Systems’ cost as well. On the other hand, the development of energy education programs into schools with core issue the solar energy, will upgrade the produced tourist services. As far as the governmental energy policy is concerned, the wide application of Solar Energy Systems in a majority of applications in the Hellenic tourist will further promote RES policy at a national level. The above mentioned ideas will create a totally new dimension to the tourist offer of Hellenic islands and the creation of a new differentiatied energy balance of an environmental direction, since the optimization of the benefit of the pure energy will function towards the reinforcement of the hellenic Tourist Industry.

4. Hellenic Solar Market and Perspectives for 2010

The market growth of solar thermal systems and photovoltaics in Europe depends on the policy of the governments towards the use of solar energy systems, on the sensitivity of the people concerning environment and on the improvement of the technology combined with price reduction of solar systems. Considering the target of EC for 12% from renewables in 2010, solar energy systems can play a significant role in our country. According the White Papers, the installed capacity by photovoltaics must be 3 GW until 2010, from 0.03 GW in 1995. Greece has operated 7 MW of photovoltaics during the year 2005, whereas Europe has produced 562 MW in 2003 (from 90 MW in 1998). The corresponding international numbers were 3.151 MW and 948 MW accordingly. As far as the total installation of Solar Collectors are concerned the European Union has established 14 millions m² the year 2003 (from 3.5 millions m² in 1990) [29].

Hellas is one of the most successful countries worldwide in the use of solar thermal energy and the 2010 EU target on renewables for Hellas could be achieved regarding solar energy, if solar collectors of about 11 million m² surface area and photovoltaics more than 25 MWp power are installed. The existing thermal collectors in the year 2003 was 3.5 million m² whereas the production of electricity by photovoltaics was 0.6 GWh (into a RES’ total of 6.946 GWh) from 0.1 GWh (into a total of 1.999 GWh) during the year 1990 [30]. For many years, the number of installed parks of solar collectors per capita has been the highest within Europe. The solar thermal market started 30 years ago. At the time, almost all the Hellenic households were using electric heaters; thus, the rising price of electricity has helped the market to develop. The current annual solar thermal market in Hellas, which is represented by about 99% by domestic/small systems, fluctuates between 50.000 and 70.000 single family units (about 200.000 m² per year) including also hotels studios, small commercial and industrial consumers and athletic centers. The systems are covered usually with warranty of up to 5 years.

The basic solar thermosiphonic family system is composed of a 1.8 to 4.0 m² collector area and a hot water storage tank of 120 to 250 litres. At the end of 2004, the surface area of the solar collectors in Hellas was about 3.5 106 m², of which 60% located in central and southern Hellas, 30% in northern Hellas and 10% in the islands, with Crete to have the highest surface area per capita. Regarding the use of solar systems, more than 95% of them are small scale systems for domestic hot water and the rest are large scale systems for hot water in tertiary sector (hotels, hospitals, and swimming pools) and also for heating needs in the industry. We have to point out here, that the installed capacity, which is connected to the Grid has been increased to 74% by the year 2002, whereas the 95% concern the systems of energy distribution. As far as the systems connected to the Network are concerned, the 38% correspond to domestic and the rest to commercial or public applications [31].

The output power of the collectors in Hellas can reach 800 kWh/m²/year. The energy production from solar energy is about 2 TWh, being almost 10% of the electricity consumption of the residential sector, mainly due to the solar collectors in households. Although the main priority of Hellenic energy policy concerns the penetration of natural gas in households, solar energy substitutes for the electricity in domestic hot water production, contributing a lot to the reduction of electricity consumption, thus it is estimated that about 1200 GWh of electricity are saved annually. The solar water heaters are also contributing a lot to the security of supply of electricity.

As far as photovoltaic systems larger than 20 KW are concerned with the hellenic energy market’s deliberation and the exploitation of renewable sources of energy in Hellas [32] 2.3 MW of photovoltaic systems have been licensed by the Hellenic Ministry of Development. From them, 0.8 MW are in the environmental licensing procedure, 0.8 MW have an installation authorization and 0.7 MW have an operation authorisation, whereas the total energy produced is up to 550 MWh [Table 1] [3].

Table 1
(in MW)
Produced Energy
(in MWH)
Production Licences 2,3  
Installation Licences 0,8  
Operation Licences 0,7 550 MWH

The declination observed between the licensed and the functioning capacity – apart from the deficit of networks - is due to problems such as the high systems cost of erection and connection to the Grid and the complicated and long term procedures needed for the obtaining of an installation authorization.

The distribution of photovoltaic’s operational capacity into the hellenic islands is described in Table [2] and Graph [1] [33].

Table 2   Photovoltaics in Operation per Island Entity (kW)
Island Entity Photovoltaics Total Amount (kW)
Crete 372,0 372,0
Cyclades 220,4 220,4
Rest of Hellenic Islands 107,6 107,6
Total (kW) 700,0 700,0

Source: Regulatory Authority for Energy. The Table is referring to Photovoltaics which operate (data until 28.04.2005).

Graph 1

To increase the use of solar energy systems in islands, the objective should be not only to increase the use of Solar Energy Systems for single families but also to disseminate the use of solar systems to other potential users, such as industry, commercial and public buildings. No need to mention that solar energy can be applied to buildings providing them with hot water and space heating/cooling.

5. The Suggested Solar Energy Systems

In Physics Department of University of Patras, we have investigated several types of solar energy systems, as the ICS systems, the collectors with colored absorbers, the booster reflectors and the hybrid photovoltaic/thermal solar systems, as alternative solar devices to the typical flat plate solar collectors and photovoltaics. In the following we describe briefly the design and performance of them.

5.1 Integrated Collector Storage Systems (ICS)

Flat Plate Thermosiphonic Units (FPTU) and Integrated Collector Storage (ICS) systems are small size solar water heaters, aiming to cover domestic needs of about 100-200 l of hot water per day. ICS solar systems are simpler and have lower cost than FPTU systems, as they consist of solar collector and water storage tank mounted together in the same device. The preservation of the temperature level of the hot water is the main problem of ICS systems, as the absorbing surface is part of the external surface of the water storage tank. Extensive study on ICS systems with cylindrical water storage tanks placed properly inside Compound Parabolic Concentrating (CPC) reflector troughs has been performed in our laboratory and several new designs, based on the effective combination of the water storage tanks with symmetric or asymmetric CPC reflectors have been suggested [34]. These systems can be used as separate units for one family houses and also in series connection with a well thermally insulated storage tank inside the building, regarding larger size applications.

5.2 Solar collectors with colored absorbers

Considering that the aesthetic view is of priority in most of the existing and the new buildings, solar collectors with absorbers of different color than black could be an interesting solution for the wider application of solar energy systems. These collectors, because of the lower absorptance, have lower thermal efficiency than that of the usual black type collectors but they are more interesting to architects for applications on traditional or modern buildings. We have carried out an extensive study [34] on solar collectors with colored absorber, which has shown that these collectors can be of satisfactory efficiency. The absorbers of the tested flat plate collector prototypes were painted blue and red-brown and the tests showed that the obtained efficiency can be considered acceptable compared to that of the usual collector type with black absorber. Regarding cost, an additional amount of about 20%, to increase the collector area, can be considered to overcome their lower thermal output compared to the collectors with black absorber of the same type. The application of blue collectors in white buildings in islands, of red brown collectors in buildings with inclined roof and traditional architecture and of other color on modern buildings, could contribute to a wider use of solar thermal collectors.

5.3 Solar collectors with booster reflectors

Many buildings have horizontal roof and solar collectors can be installed in parallel rows, placed at a proper distance, in order to avoid collector shading during winter. The space between the parallel rows can be used to provide additional solar radiation on the collector aperture surface by placing booster reflectors from the collector top of the one row to the collector bottom of the next row. These reflectors can contribute to the increase of the thermal energy output and from spring to fall this installation is suitable for collector operation in higher temperatures, adapting therefore space cooling requirements.

5.4 Unglazed solar collectors

The unglazed solar collectors can be alternative to typical collectors with glazing, for water heating up to about 35°C. From May to September, the ambient temperature is higher than water temperature from mains and the unglazed solar collectors perform better than glazed collectors for operation in lower than ambient temperatures. The results from our research [34] show that the thermal energy output can be increased, by using booster reflectors between the parallel rows of the unglazed collectors.

5.5 Hybrid photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) solar systems

Most of the absorbed solar radiation by solar cells is not converted into electricity, as electrical efficiency is 5% to 15%, increasing their temperature and thus reducing their electrical efficiency. Hybrid Photovoltaic/Thermal (PV/T) systems provide electricity and heat simultaneously and are consisted of PV modules coupled to water or air heat extraction devices achieving a higher energy conversion efficiency of the absorbed solar radiation. The air-cooled PV/T systems are considered cost effective for application in medium and high latitudes, where ambient air is most of the year kept at a low temperature level. In low latitude applications the water type PV/T systems can be effectively used all seasons, as water from mains is under 20°C. Design and performance improvements of hybrid PV/T systems, with water or air as heat removal fluid, have been carried out in our laboratory [35-37] to improve the total energy output of the PV/T system. Also, results from a life cycle analysis [38] give an idea about the environmental impact of these systems. Considering PV/T solar systems installed on horizontal building roof, the parallel rows keep a distance from one to the other in order to avoid PV module shading. We have investigated the use of stationary flat diffuse reflectors placed between the rows of PV modules [36,37]. The reflectors can provide an almost uniform distribution of reflected solar radiation on PV module surface, resulting to increase solar input on PV modules and improve the electrical and thermal output of the PV/T systems.

6. The Promotion of Photovoltaics in the Hellenic Market of Islands – a Market Strategy

An important case for the promotion of photovoltaics in Hellas is to design and construct hybrid PV/T systems similar to the FPTU type solar water heaters. They can be considered alternative to them providing hot water and electricity and could replace the usual devices after their life span. An initial penetration of 10% in this market would mean PV annual sales of about 2 MWp. Considering a 10% replacement of FPTU with PV/T systems could result to a 15-25 MWp additional installed power. The single family market for photovoltaics has not developed in Hellas, because the incentive was not sufficient to generate any interest especially for grid-connected PV systems. The use of PV/T hybrid systems could open a window for the re-introduction of the PV technology, through a modified product, without the need of heavy subsidies, developing a series of new solutions for the electric and thermal energy needs of the consumers and enterprises. Less than 25% of houses in Hellas have a solar system installed already, considering that in similar cases like Cyprus and Israel the percentage is over 90%. A wide market survey has shown that more than 90% of the owners of solar systems are satisfied and when they replaced the old solar system they would invest on a solar system again.

As we have mentioned before, the production of energy in Hellas ismainly based on lignite and in the islands on oil. The share of renewable energies (including firewood) is estimated to be 10% of the total production and the share of solar thermal alone is about 1.3%. The assessment of new strategies and actions in order to reinforce the solar systems market, taking into consideration the new situation and the need of the Hellenic energy system, requires accurate and up-to-date data, through a promotion’s strategy for new energy products, based on the model of individual decision-making for innovative products: Knowledge – persuasion – decision – application – confirmation – type of sold products – network of sale.

According to the current data whatosoever, the briefing of consumers is insufficient, while companies present very limited publicity of these appliances. On the other hand the institutions of State and the Municipalities and Regions as well, do not even know the possibility of economic profit and compensatory profits, the imposition of which is imposed by the Hellenic Law for the producers of RES energy.

The policy which must be prior to the above mentioned strategy has to answer to questions relative to the current situation of the available solar energy and the prospects of its exploitation, such as the stating of the current situation of PV’s market in the islands, the choice of „target customers”, etc [40]. As far as the type of products sold is concerned, the producer must take care of the PV Market’s segmentation, of the focusing on the possible purchasers, and of the gradual tracing of an appropriate policy of marketing. This Market’s segmentation could be realized through planning criteria, the type of PV’s users etc and the localisation of regions where are also familiarized citizens in the use of solar thermal heaters. A useful point also is to research the interests, the customers’ needs, the factors that influence the consuming behaviour, the concerns etc in order to shape the consuming behaviour of the PV’s purchaser. The above mentioned research is easy to be done in islands because of their autonomous character and the orientated needs of their population. Islands that are instead led by change in consumption are likely to have a less developed tourism sector with respect to other economic activities. Syros for example is an administrative centre for a group of islands in the region and maintain a number of offices. Thus, the increased demand signifies rising standards of living rather than dominant tourism development that would have created about peaks. Source [11].

The process of citizens’ briefing should be constituted by a full, honest and thorough cost/benefit analysis, which apart from the environmental, economic, energy and esthetic benefits, as well as the high economic cost, has to underline the indirect benefits, stated to the present paper (for example the withholding of islander or rural populations in their regions, the null external cost of PV systems [41], etc.

In the side also of cost analysis, it should be pointed out that under the current conditions and since a further governmental financing of PV systems is not predicted, the expense is substantially depreciated in a time bigger than 20 years, while the reasons of preference of this technology should on the present be based on concrete stylish choices of architectural configuration of exterior spaces, or in environmental and social sentimentalisms.

What we will find out from this briefing, is that there exists individual discriminations of the market, which need different approach, such as (for example) innovative and conservative purchasers. For the conservative ones, supplementary outillage (such as for example the advertising strategy), is important.

The development of relative theories is necessary if we want to know how the individual decision-making influences the integration of PV systems in the market: The local conditions of life, the sunlight conditions, the potential use of solar energy systems, the economic situation of customers, the sensitivities of regions, the existing human potential, the spirit of competition and the innovative spirit must be recorded for all Hellenic regions in order to shape the consuming behaviour of the PV’s purchaser. Depending on the results, a Plan of Action is to be traced with specific priorities, measures and policies.

A pilot strategic plan for the PV’s promotion in the Regions of Northern or Southern Aegean Sea, remains an interesting idea for reasons of:

It’s also necessary to award attention to the two most directly interested parts, which means the PV’s purchaser and the PV’s seller of energy in the energy grid. The first is concerned about the shapes, colours, price etc of the PV and the second in relation with the added value of the PV, the symbol of „green energy” attributed to one’s enterprise, the attribute as a „player” in the Green Energy Market etc.

The development of marketing strategies is important if we want to know how the individual decision-making influences the integration of PV systems in the market, even if this integration is limited by external factors such as the restricted market’s deliberation’s degree.

7. Conclusions

The development of new and cost effective solar devices is necessary for a wider application of solar energy in the islands of Hellas, especially in the tourist sector where the benefits are underlined by the fact that tourism constitute the most significant industry of the Hellenic economy. New solar systems have been suggested by the University of Patras to be used in practical applications as in domestic and hotel buildings, restricted agricultural applications, etc. We are optimist that Hellas will achieve the energy targets of 2010 concerning the solar energy systems, developing an appropriate marketing strategy, especially designed for the particular needs of the hellenic islands.


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