Bloomberg News

Greece to Use Solar Project Revenue to Pay Debt, EU Says

October 27, 2011

(Updates with Energy Minister comment in fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Greece will use future revenue from the country’s ‘Helios’ solar energy project to cut debt by as much as 15 billion euros ($21 billion), euro-area leaders said.

“Greece commits future cash flows from project Helios, or other privatization revenue in excess of those already included in the adjustment programme, to further reduce indebtedness of the Hellenic Republic by up to 15 billion euros with the aim of restoring the lending capacity of the European Financial Stability Fund,” European leaders said in a joint statement received today by e-mail.

Named after the ancient god of the sun, Helios is a 20 billion-euro project that plans to attract investors to Greece to install as many as 10 gigawatts of solar panels by 2050.

Based on current solar energy prices in Germany, “we’re talking about a project with potential revenue of 80 billion euros” over a 25-year period, Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou said in Athens, according to an e-mailed transcript of his comments from the ministry.

Greece aims to secure a framework agreement with European partners for the project and in December will organize jointly with the European Commission a two-day conference on energy in Greece where one day will be devoted to Helios and its implementation, Papaconstantinou said.

The project will allow Greece to export clean energy to north European countries enabling them to meet European Union requirements for power sourced from renewable energy, Papaconstantinou told German investors on Sept.5.

Euro-area countries agreed early today on a package to deal with the region’s debt crisis including boosting the firepower of the EFSF, a temporary rescue fund for member countries in difficulty, to 1 trillion euros and persuading bondholders to take 50 percent losses on Greek debt.

--Editors: Peter Branton, Chris Peterson

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Tugwell in Athens at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at

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