Renewables

Croatia’s first energy cooperative–owned solar power plant to be installed in Križevci

krizevci ZEZ Sunce energy cooperative solar power plant

Photo: City of Križevci

Published

March 4, 2024

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Published:

March 4, 2024

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Croatian citizens now have the opportunity to be co-owners of the country’s first community solar power plant. It is set to be built on the building of the town market in Križevci.

Cooperative power plants are slowly becoming a reality in the region. The first ones in Serbia were installed last summer, while a month ago Slovenia’s debut rooftop photovoltaic system jointly owned by individuals was inaugurated.

Green Energy Cooperative (Zelena Energetska Zadruga – ZEZ) has announced that citizens can purchase membership shares and invest in the construction of a solar power plant on the building of the town market in Križevci, a town northeast of the country’s capital Zagreb. It is the first such project in Croatia, it added.

It is being implemented by energy cooperative ZEZ Sunce, which is following the example of numerous cities in Europe. The project is supported by ZEZ, the municipal authority in Križevci, and energy cooperative KLIK.

The long-term goal of ZEZ Sunce is to ensure that its members use energy produced by the cooperative’s solar power plants

The goal is to collect EUR 140,000 for the construction of a 200 kW photovoltaic facility. Individuals can become co-owners with as little as EUR 300 each, and the minimum level for legal entities is EUR 1,000. The maximum investment is EUR 5,000.

ZEZ Sunce intends to sell electricity from the PV facility on the market and return up to 5% of the profit to the members of the energy cooperative.

According to ZEZ, with an investment of EUR 1,000 a member can expect to earn EUR 50 per year. However, the returns are not guaranteed and depend on the financial success of the project.

ZEZ Sunce said it would launch co-ownership solar power projects in other urban areas in Croatia, too. It said its long-term goal is to enable its members to consume energy from cooperative solar power plants.

Rajn: Let’s support citizen energy and the democratization of energy

krizevci ZEZ Sunce energy cooperative solar power plant rajn kirac
Photo: Vedran Vlahović

Mislav Kirac, manager of ZEZ Sunce, said many municipal authorities in Europe have acknowledged the importance of ceding public roofs to citizens for solar power plants. Through joint construction of PV facilities they are boosting the independence from imported fossil fuels and retaining financial and economic benefits for citizens and the community, in his words.

The model allows people living in apartment buildings to co-own solar power plants.

“Citizens from entire Croatia have demonstrated huge interest, and that’s why we invite all cities and towns to implement such projects for their citizens’ benefit,” Kirac stressed.

Križevci mayor Mario Rajn called fellow heads of local authorities in Croatia to put public resources to work on developing citizen energy.

It is the only path toward the democratization of the energy sector and for making public resources and energy available to citizens, he said.

Citizens of Križevci and the surrounding municipalities of Kalnik, Gornja Rijeka, Sveti Ivan Žabno and Sveti Petar Orehovec have priority in the first seven days of the campaign or until 50% of the money is collected.

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