The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of North Macedonia has signed a contract with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain and consulting firm Globatek on the preparation of a technical study for the integration of floating photovoltaic plants into the national irrigation network.
North Macedonia already has one solar power unit within its irrigation system, as the state-owned water management utility Hidrosistem Streževo has installed a 500 kW facility on its Streževo dam. It is the first such investment in the Western Balkan region. Of note, a pioneering project to install solar panels over irrigation canals began last year in the United States.
The agreement on the installation of solar power plants within the irrigation system in North Macedonia was signed by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Ljupčo Nikolovski, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain José Luis Lozano García, and representatives of Globatek, the ministry said.
Spain provided a grant for the preparation of the study.
The activities for floating PV facilities will be implemented in three phases
Ljupčo Nikolovski said the grant of EUR 765,158 is part of the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. It was approved by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism of Spain, he added.
The activities funded by the grant are divided into three phases, of which the first envisages identifying locations for floating solar power plants. The second one is to develop project design and a feasibility study, while the third will see the preparation of project proposals for the installation of floating photovoltaics.
Nikolovski noted the technology is already being used in several European countries including Spain and Belgium. Such power plants, in his words, are mainly used in the irrigation sector and are managed by irrigation companies.
As a result, the agricultural sector becomes more independent and more sustainable, Nikolovski added.
Solar is unstoppable
Energy companies in Southeastern Europe also combine solar and hydropower. The group includes Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dravske Elektrarne Maribor (DEM) and Hidroelektrarne na Spodnji Savi (HESS) in Slovenia, KESH in Albania, Hidroelectrica in Romania, and Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) in Serbia, while some projects have already been completed in Turkey.