The construction of a EUR 1 billion solar power plant with storage is due to begin in the summer in Romania’s Arad province, Agerpres reported. The project, for which Rezolv Energy has acquired development rights from Monsson, consists of 1.04 GW in photovoltaics and a 500 MW storage unit, according to Grăniceri Mayor Petru Claudiu Bătrînuţ.
A battery storage station is set to be built on 20 hectares on the territory of the Grăniceri commune, as investors asked for an urban planning certificate for 500 MW, Agerpres wrote. The Romanian news agency quoted Mayor Petru Claudiu Bătrînuţ as saying that it would accompany a photovoltaic plant of 1.04 GW and that both facilities would be the biggest in Europe.
The battery unit project spans 20 hectares
The construction of the Pilu-Grăniceri solar power plant will begin by August, according to the mayor of Grăniceri, also known as Ottlaka and Graničar. The site is in Arad near Romania’s border with Hungary. The batteries will be the size of cargo containers, Bătrînuţ pointed out. In his words, the investment in the photovoltaic park is worth EUR 800 million while the storage unit will cost EUR 200 million.
Rezolv earlier suggested its storage facility would have 135 MW with 540 MWh
Four months ago, Rezolv Energy announced that it bought development rights for the solar power plant from Monsson. In a statement issued just days later, the company backed by investment fund Actis said the facility would “likely include a 135 MW battery storage system, capable of delivering electricity for four hours.” It would imply a capacity of 540 MWh.
The location of the solar power plant would also host agricultural activity – sheep grazing to manage vegetation
The aim is to get the solar power plant online in December 2024. Monsson has maintained a role in the project. Mayor Bătrînuţ pointed out that archeological works are underway at the location, after which approval needs to be obtained from the Ministry of Culture.
The investors said that the project, partly financed by loans, isn’t benefitting from any government support, the article adds. Rezolv earlier revealed it would sell electricity to commercial and industrial users through long-term power purchase agreements or PPAs. It estimated annual output at 1.5 TWh.
The company stressed that the vegetation would be managed using sheep for grazing.
Sebastian Enache from Monsson has said the firm controlled by Swedish-Monégasque businessman Emanuel Muntmark has 2 GW in total in projects in Arad county. The construction of two photovoltaic projects with 800 MW in combined capacity is scheduled to start next year. The executive said they are worth an overall EUR 600 million and added that the facilities would be completed in 2026.
Agrisolar, hybrid trends picking up
Pairing solar power with storage is one of the ways to form a hybrid power plant. More and more investors throughout the world are adding batteries to their existing or planned photovoltaic plants and wind parks. Storage eases the pressure on the grid and the operators can keep electricity surpluses for a while and sell them when prices are higher.
Another trend in the sector is to combine solar power with agricultural activity. The concept is called agrisolar or agrivoltaics.
There is a possibly even bigger photovoltaic project in the making in Romania. Recent unconfirmed information showed that Hidroelectrica is set to receive the concession for a facility of up to 1.5 GW on state-owned land, also with a possibility of integrating agricultural activity.
So far the largest official project in Europe, 1.2 GW, is being developed in Portugal by Iberdrola.
Balkans catching up with Europe in megasolar projects
The region tracked by Balkan Green Energy News seems to have caught up with the rest of the continent with megaprojects in the solar power segment, at least when planning is concerned.
The largest completed photovoltaic unit in Southeastern Europe is in northern Greece and belongs to HELLENiQ Energy. It has a capacity of 204.3 MW.
Greek coal and electricity producer Public Power Co., which is undergoing a transformation toward renewable sources, is building a 550 MW facility in the same area via its subsidiary PPC Renewables. Enipeas won a strategic investment status on a national level for its solar power project with a planned peak capacity of 700 MW in Thessaly.
There is a possibly even bigger photovoltaic project in the making in Romania, with up to 1.5 GW
German company Profine Energy intends to install a floating solar power plant in Bulgaria with a capacity of 500 MW to 1.5 GW.
In Serbia, Fintel energija and MK Group have launched the 660 MW Agrosolar Kula project in 2021 for the simultaneous production of agricultural crops and electricity from solar energy. El Sun Energy plans to build a 950 MW solar power plant in Croatia.
Iberdrola already operates the biggest solar park in Europe. The 590 MW Francisco Pizarro facility in Extremadura is in western Spain. It was commissioned in August.
The construction is underway in the Turkish Konya province, south of Ankara, of a plant with 1.35 GW in nameplate capacity, translating to 1 GW in connection power. The site is in Asia Minor, so not geographically in Europe.