Renewables

Construction work begins on Croatia’s first agrisolar power plant

Solida Construction work Croatia first agrisolar power plant

Photo: Solida Group

Published

June 6, 2023

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Published:

June 6, 2023

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Solar power developer Solida is pioneering the application of the agrivoltaic concept in Croatia. It launched the construction of a facility with 15 MW peak capacity at a location where it would also farm sheep. The company intends to build only agrisolar plants.

The combination of agriculture and solar power is slowly making its way into Southeastern Europe. A growing number of investors are embracing agrivoltaics, also known as agrisolar.

Solar panels can be mounted on a support structure to enable the growing of fruit or vegetables underneath and provide shading and protection from hail. Even if the panels are just above the ground, cattle grazing at the site lowers maintenance costs.

Croatian company Solida started the construction of its largest facility so far and said it would be an agrisolar plant. It will have 15 MW in peak capacity. The company operates 30 small photovoltaic units in the country’s north.

Investment is worth EUR 10 million

The location, spanning over 20 hectares, is in the company’s hometown of Ivanec. It said the EUR 10 million agrivoltaic system would be completed within a year. The idea is to open a farm with 200 sheep, Solida revealed.

Another project is underway for 30 MW in peak capacity on 60 hectares on a nearby site, company owner Dubravko Posavec said. It is next to the village of Ribić Breg. The grass will be mowed there to provide food for the sheep in Ivanec. Solida has location permits for 200 MW in total, all of which are envisaged for agrivoltaics, Posavec stressed.

Agrisolar set to become norm

French renewables company Neoen recently launched a 10 MW agrisolar project in Croatia. Giant investments in the same segment are planned in neighboring Serbia and Montenegro as well as in North Macedonia, Romania and Greece.

In Kosovo*, Solar Energy Group Europe is building an agrivoltaics plant of 150 MW, which is set also to become the biggest solar power system in the Western Balkans.

Actually, Iberdrola and Prosolia Energy intend to graze sheep and keep beehives at their planned 1.2 GW facility Fernando Pessoa in Portugal. It is currently the biggest solar power project in Europe.

Engie inaugurated the biggest agrivoltaic park in Italy last month, at 66 MW in peak capacity and a 50 MW grid connection. The site will be used for growing almonds, olives, lavender and other herbs. However, Enel Green Power started the construction of a 170 MW facility in March. It would be the biggest solar power plant in Italy as well.

* 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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