Renewables

Serbia’s EPS to start building its first solar power plant Petka in September

Serbia EPS start building first solar power plant Petka September

Photo: Western Balkans Investment Framework / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Published

August 16, 2023

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Published:

August 16, 2023

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State-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) is about to choose the best offer from its public call for the contractor for its first solar power plant and begin construction. The Petka unit of 9.75 MW will be located on a tailings dump within the company’s coal complex Kostolac east of Belgrade.

EPS is preparing for the start of construction of a mid-sized solar power plant within TE-KO Kostolac, one of its lignite mining and thermal power plant branches. The Serbian government-controlled utility’s magazine EPS energija reported that the main works are expected to commence next month.

The envisaged nominal or peak capacity is 9.75 MW and the annual output is estimated at 15.6 GWh. The location is on the external tailings dump of the Ćirikovac open pit mine.

Groundwork is finished

The project dates back several years and it went very slowly. The tender for the contractor was launched in April for the second time, after the first one was canceled in May last year. At the time, EPS said it lacked funds. The setback occurred as the company was just beginning to recuperate, under new leadership, from a series of outages and fires including a major collapse in December 2021.

EPS expects to declare the winner and sign the contract by the end of the month.

EPS will cover the EUR 11.6 million investment from own funds

The preliminary works are finished, project lead Jovan Tošić said. He pointed out that the lot spans 15 hectares, of which almost 12 hectares would be under panels. The investment is planned at EUR 11.6 million and it will be fully covered by the company.

Six companies sent in bids at the tender and the winner will have a 15-month deadline to complete the job, so Petka is seen coming online toward the end of next year, Tošić added. The modules are 580 W each, with an efficiency of 21%, and they will be fixed under a 25-degree angle, he stressed. The project includes 98 inverters and ten transformers.

Petka is demonstration for big projects ahead

The government-controlled coal and electricity producer is building its first wind power plant on the locations of Petka, Drmno, Ćirikovac and Klenovnik. The planned capacity of the Kostolac facility is 66 MW.

Tošić underscored that the Petka unit would serve EPS as a demonstration for larger systems. When the Srednje kostolačko ostrvo (SKO) ash and slag dump is closed, a photovoltaic plant of 200 MW should be installed, the company’s representative revealed.

Solar power plants Stiško polje 1 and 2 are envisaged to have 500 MW each

The preliminary plan is to start cutting trees in January and then gradually close the facility, so the construction of the solar power plant is expected in 2029, Tošić said. According to earlier announcements, SKO was supposed to have 97 MW.

EPS’s green transformation includes solar power projects Stiško polje 1 and Stiško polje 2 of 500 MW each, he underscored.

The Klenovnik location in the Kostolac complex should also host a photovoltaic facility, of 250 MW.

Solar for other coal plants as well

EPS actually has only one small solar power unit, at the Lazići dam within its pumped storage hydropower plant Bajina Bašta. Its capacity is 330 kW. A string of other projects are under development. Next year, rooftop PV panels should be set up on auxilary structures within the TENT A coal power plant in Obrenovac. The combined capacity would come in at 1 MW.

The company has received a grant from the European Union for the documentation for the planned photovoltaic units at its Morava and Kolubara A coal plants. The capacities would be 71 MW and 45 MW, respectively. The locations are on coal, ash and slag dumps. There were hints earlier that instead of building Kolubara B, a project that was abandoned, a solar power plant should take its place.

Serbia is conducting a tender for a contractor for solar power plants with 1 GW in combined capacity, which are supposed to be delivered to EPS. The deadline for submissions is September 20.

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