Renewables

Biggest solar power plant in Western Balkans completed in Novaci in North Macedonia

Biggest solar power plant Western Balkans completed Novaci North Macedonia

Photo: Mey Energy

Published

September 26, 2023

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Published:

September 26, 2023

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Mey Energy completed a 55 MW photovoltaic facility in Novaci in North Macedonia. It is currently the largest in the region.

The Western Balkans are slow in the deployment of solar power, but the list of utility-scale photovoltaic units is gradually becoming bigger. Right after a 45 MW facility in Bosnia and Herzegovina entered a trial phase, North Macedonia again became the country with the largest one in the region. Mey Energy said it finished its 55 MW solar power plant in the municipality of Novaci, in the heart of the country’s coal industry.

The system was built next to the Suvodol open pit. The company founded in 2020 announced it would start producing electricity before the end of the month. The Novaci unit has an estimated annual output of 85 GWh, equivalent to the electricity needs of 30,000 domestic households.

Biggest solar power plant Western Balkans Novaci North Macedonia
The new PV plant is located near the REK Bitola coal and power complex

Novaci PV facility was built in ten months

The investment is worth EUR 40 million, according to the statement. The PV facility spans 57 hectares and consists of 101,000 panels. It includes over 856 kilometers of cables. Construction started in November. Mey Energy said its contractors are all from North Macedonia.

The new utility added that its Novaci unit will have a lifespan of 25 years. It said it would sell the electricity on the free market, primarily within the country.

Transmission line was nearby because of coal plant

The solar power plant was built on private land. The location was favorable due to its proximity to the 110 kV network as it is near the REK Bitola thermal power plant. It is run by state-owned company Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM), which is racing to phase out coal by 2030 while replacing a substantial part of the system with solar power.

Some of the PV projects that investors in the Western Balkans are developing are actually measured in hundreds of megawatts, though most are in the early phases. Nevertheless, Novaci won’t be the biggest for long. There are solar power plants under construction in BiH and Kosovo* of 150 MW each in peak capacity. Another one, of 140 MW, is being built in Albania.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
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