Integrating energy storage into solar power plants and wind farms would not only ensure the cheapest electricity on the market, but could also help reduce the renewables capacity required to replace Serbia’s 4.4 GW of coal-fired plants, by 1-2 GW, down from the projected 8-10 GW, according to Nemanja Mikać, co-owner of aluminum packaging producer Al Pack. “We believe that Serbia should support this form of energy transition,” Mikać said at a panel called ‘Utility-scale solar power plants in Serbia – a small step for humanity, a big step for Serbia’s energy transition,’ held as part of the First Big Conference on Solar Energy in Serbia.
Over the past two years Al Pack has been developing solutions for energy storage, said Mikać, and he explained that combining energy storage with solar improves planning, secures balancing, and reduces investment risk. The combination of storage and solar, according to him, will become a trend in both private and industrial consumption.
Combining storage and solar is emerging as a topic in Serbia
“We saw it in foreign markets, where we began with all this, and we want to bring it over to Serbia, because I believe storage has not yet been discussed enough,” said Mikać, adding that solar-plus-storage is now emerging as a topic in Serbia.
There are already firms in Serbia, including Al Pack, which are dealing with the issue of energy storage integration, but there is another link, namely the production of lithium-ion batteries, whose price has seen a tenfold decrease in the past ten years, according to him.
All this, he said, originated in the field of e-mobility, and it is now evident that the automotive industry will account for 80% of all global energy storage capacity.
Al Pack is building the largest rooftop solar power plant in Serbia
Without waiting for new regulations, Al Pack has already began installing a 1.1 MW rooftop photovoltaic plant, the largest of its kind in Serbia.
Mikać said the solar system would be even bigger were it not for regulatory constraints and the limited surface area of the roof.
An aluminum packaging manufacturer based in Subotica, Serbia, Al Pack Group operates in more 25 countries across Europe, employing over 280 people at four locations.