The Verila facility, under construction in hilly terrain south of Sofia, is set to increase solar power generation in Bulgaria by up to 12%. Works on the photovoltaic plant, developed by Eurohold, started in September.
The construction of Bulgaria’s largest solar power plant is due to be completed by spring 2023. The facility will generate green electricity with a peak capacity of 124 MW. The project for another segment, of 50 MW, is under development.
As of late November, there was an overall 1.03 GW in active photovoltaic facilities in the country, according to a statement from the contractor, Sunotec, which cited data from the public registry. The biggest one, at 50 MW peak, is called Pobeda. It is located in Aytos near the Black Sea Coast.
It means the project that is underway is set to add up to 12% to Bulgaria’s installed solar power capacity. The investor, Eurohold, bought ČEZ’s assets in the country in 2019.
Steepness is biggest challenge
Sunotec is a domestic company, but with a second headquarters in Germany. It said its employees started the works on the ground-mounted PV facility in September.
The location is in the Verila mountain range near Dupnitsa (Dupnica), a town south of capital Sofia. Sunotec stressed that the nature of the terrain is the greatest challenge. The company is tasked with engineering, project management, procurement and construction of the facility with 220,230 modules.
Lower temperatures contribute to solar power output
“The location of the solar power plant at an altitude between 700 and 1,000 meters above sea level, with slopes as steep as 18 degrees, is one of the most adventurous and unique in Europe. The lower temperatures caused by the high altitude contribute to the generation of additional power. However, this also means that we have to adapt the machinery as well as the sequence of implementation to the challenging topography of the site,” said Sunotec’s Country Manager Valentin Gospodinov.
The project is one of seven that Sunotec is currently implementing in Bulgaria.
Eurohold is installing two substations on its own
The Verila project, in the vicinity of the village of Kraynitsi, spans 130 hectares. The investment is worth more than EUR 100 million, according to earlier announcements.
Just last week, the Municipal Council of Dupnitsa agreed to sign a preliminary contract with Verila Solar Park 2 for a photovoltaic plant on a 236-hectare site on Kraynitsi territory. Eurohold said it would install 50 MW and that the project is scheduled to be completed in 2024. It added that it is building two electricity substations and that they would be donated to the country’s Electricity System Operator (ESO).
Council member Emil Gushterov, chief of the municipal parliament’s economic commission, stressed that the two substations are worth a combined EUR 11.7 million. He estimated that the investor’s donations to the municipality through infrastructure would be worth EUR 102,000.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, Bulgaria had 1.2 GW in solar power capacity at the end of last year.