The failed Akërni photovoltaic project from Albania’s first renewables auction has been revived, according to a report. Data obtained from the competent authorities show there is 1.2 GW in the pipeline in the solar power sector, of which the construction of the Karavasta plant should start soon.
Greencells GmbH is planning to build the biggest photovoltaic plant in Albania – 275 MW, according to a list of projects under development. Monitor.al obtained it from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy and the Energy Regulatory Authority (ERE), revealing the company got a preliminary assessment last year for the connection to the transmission grid.
There are 13 solar power plants in the pipeline that made any progress lately, and their combined capacity is 1.24 GW. Another surprise is that the Akërni project has apparently been revived. A consortium led by India Power Corp. won it at the first renewable energy auction in the region, in November 2018, but the deal for a 100 MW facility was canceled two years later.
Karavasta awaiting permits
The article adds a firm called EDIL-AL-IT got a grid connection assessment in 2021 for a photovoltaic plant in the Akërni area, but this time it was for 150 MW. Another 150 MW photovoltaic unit is being developed by Aga Solar.
Next by size is Karavasta. France-based Voltalia won the power purchase contract at an auction two years ago. The site is near Fier, just like all the projects already mentioned and most of the remaining capacity.
Almost all of the photovoltaic plants in the pipeline are planned to be built in Fier area
Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku recently said construction of the 140 MW solar power plant would start in March. However, the article points out the company is still discussing the terms for the purchase of land from locals for Karavasta and that it is waiting for a key permit from ERE.
Voltalia has also won the only other auction held so far, for the 100 MW Spitalle project in Durrës. Greennat Solar Park Ballsh applied last month for the installation of a 100 MW photovoltaic plant in Mallakastër municipality in the Fier district.
Capacity of Blue-1, Blue-2 projects grows
Blessed Investment and Matrix Konstruksion got preliminary approval in 2021 for photovoltaic facilities Blue-1 and Blue-2 of 57.6 MW each in Fier municipality. It should be noted that they also submitted an application earlier for a 50 MW unit which wasn’t included in the current list.
Info-Telecom’s ALB-Solar1 project for 50 MW in Fier has the same status. Another project of the same size is under development by Arsol Energy. Agna plans to build a 49.8 MW solar power facility in Libofsha in the municipality of Fier.
The two remaining projects are Premium Solar Park1 by Premium Energy, of 30 MW, and Sharp Solar Park1 by Sharp Energy, with a planned capacity of 20 MW.
The report adds there are currently 12 photovoltaic plants in operation in Albania with a combined capacity of 23 MW, which sold electricity for EUR 71.2 per MWh to the government last year. The International Renewable Energy Agency calculated that solar power capacity in Albania rose by 5 MW last year, to 22 MW.
State-owned power utility KESH recently completed its 5.1 MW solar power plant at a hydropower dam. A 1 MW floating photovoltaic system, which sunk last spring just days after commissioning, has just been repaired.
Hydropower still accounts for almost 100% of domestic power production
The country’s domestic power production depends almost entirely on hydropower plants and it must import electricity on a seasonal basis and at times of drought. Prime Minister Edi Rama said last year that Albania aims to become a net energy exporter by the end of the decade.
There is 373.1 MW in total in active wind power projects in Albania, according to the same news outlet.
The country produced a record 8.96 TWh of power last year. Only 0.4% came from solar while virtually everything else was hydroelectric plant output. Hydropower capacity increased in 2021 by 97 MW. Total installed power was 2.61 GW in the country on December 31, of which 56% belongs to KESH. The utility accounts for 59.6% of electricity production in Albania.
The country adopted a renewables law in 2017 with the intention to diversify energy sources.