Renewables

Nofar, Econergy inaugurate Romania’s largest solar power plant

Nofar Ecoenergy Romania largest solar power plant

Photo: Nofar Energy

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November 1, 2023

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Published:

November 1, 2023

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Israeli-based Nofar Energy and Econergy marked the start of the test phase for their 155 MW photovoltaic system in Rătești, west of Bucharest. It is the country’s largest solar power plant.

In the decade through the end of 2022, Romania’s renewable energy capacity saw only neglectable additions. But the market has woken up with legislative reforms and subsidies from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP or PNRR), part of the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Among the examples, Nofar Energy and Econergy Renewable Energy, both headquartered in Israel, have just put the largest solar power plant in Romania into operation. The facility, which entered the test phase, was built in 18 months in Rătești in the country’s south, in Argeș county.

The system has 155 MW in peak capacity, taking over from Ucea de Sus. The biggest photovoltaic plant in the country until now, at 82 MW, was built almost ten years ago.

Big projects are profitable even without subsidies

The companies said they invested EUR 102 million in the endeavor. The solar power plant, located west of Bucharest, in the Muntenia region, spans 170 hectares. The investors estimated its annual output at 220 GWh, equivalent to the electricity consumption of more than 100,000 households in Romania.

“Our project is profitable even without subsidies because it is very big,” said Manager Partner in Nofar Energy Favi Stelian. He stressed that investments in photovoltaic facilities between 10 MW and 20 MW aren’t feasible.

The company, active also in neighboring Serbia, said on its website that it has 957 MW in connected and ready-to-be-connected facilities.

The Rătești park is Econergy’s first in Romania, where it is developing 2.3 GW in capacity. Country Manager Bogdan Asanache said the firm has 410 MW under construction across the country. As for the rest of Southeastern Europe, Econergy operates in Greece as well.

Romania needs to boost its solar power capacity by 3.6 GW before end of decade

According to the World Bank Group’s new Country Climate and Development Report, Romania needs to increase solar power capacity by 3.6 GW by 2030 from the level registered at the end of 2022. The country had 1.4 GW online at that moment, the International Renewable Energy Agency said.

Executive Director of the Romanian Photovoltaic Industry Association (RPIA) Andrei Manea, who attended the event in Rătești, said its studies showed that by 2030 there would be 45,000 permanent jobs in sector in Romania.

One of first hybrid power plant projects underway

In other news, France-based Engie is preparing to build a solar park of 9.3 MW in peak capacity in Gemenele, where it already operates a 47.5 MW wind power plant, completed in 2013. They will have the same connection point, Profit.ro reported. It would make them one of the first hybrid power plants in Romania.

Enery received a green light two months ago for the connection of its planned 535 MW photovoltaic system to the transmission grid.

In addition to its other projects in Romania, Israeli firm Shikun Binui is developing wind and solar power projects in Iași county. News reports from August revealed that it plans to install a wind farm of 114 MW in Scobinți and a wind farm of 72 MW and solar park with a capacity of 44 MW in Deleni.

From households to state-owned companies and local authorities, Romania is swelling with solar power and other renewable energy projects. The country is in a rush to phase out coal and meet its energy and climate goals by tapping on the funds as well as soft loans. It also counts on nuclear energy projects for decarbonization and is making efforts to develop the renewables equipment and battery industry.

Rătești PV plant is among biggest in Southeastern Europe

In the rest of the region that Balkan Green Energy News covers, the largest solar power plant is Kalyon Karapınar. The facility in Anatolia in Turkey has 1.35 GW in peak capacity or 1 GW in connection terms.

The next-biggest one has a nameplate capacity of 204.3 MW. It is in Greece’s north, in the Western Macedonia region. The facility was installed by HELLENiQ Energy, which used to be called Hellenic Petroleum. It is also the largest photovoltaic plant with bifacial panels in Europe. PPC Renewables is about to start building a 550 MW system in the same province.

Two photovoltaic parks in Bulgaria, both administratively separated into three units, have more than 200 MW in capacity. Among single-site PV plants, the largest one is Apriltsi. The company Real States installed more than 180 MW in peak terms so far and it aims to reach 400 MW.

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