Renewables

UK-based Lightsource bp to build Europe’s second-biggest solar park in Greece

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Photo: Lightsource bp

Published

April 29, 2024

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Published:

April 29, 2024

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British solar energy developer Lightsource bp is set to launch works on a 560 MW photovoltaic park in central Greece, in a EUR 395 million investment financed by loans via the National Recovery and Resilience Plan Greece 2.0 and from Eurobank.

The Enipeas solar park, which Lightsource bp expects to complete in 2026, would now be the second largest in Europe. The 605 MW Witznitz solar farm in eastern Germany took the title earlier this month. Enipeas is the biggest photovoltaic investment being developed by Lightsource bp, which has completed over 8.4 GW of solar projects in 19 markets worldwide.

The biggest solar power facility in the region tracked by Balkan Green Energy News is Kalyon Energy’s solar power plant in Turkey’s Konya province. The Karapınar plant, which was opened in 2023, has a peak capacity of 1.35 GW, or 1 GW in connection terms.

Enipas would now be the second-largest solar park in Europe

Lightsource bp, 50% owned by oil giant BP, which is formerly known as British Petroleum, acquired the project in March 2023. The original nameplate capacity was reduced in the meantime from 700 MW to 560 MW and the connection capacity from 630 MW to 504 MW.

In the first year of operation, Enipeas solar park is expected to generate 0.9 TWh of electricity. It would be enough to power 225,000 households and cover almost 2% of Greece’s domestic production and avoid 379,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, according to a statement from Eurobank. Part of the park’s production will be sold through a private power purchase agreement (PPA), it added.

Part of the output will be sold through a PPA

The Enipeas solar project comprises a 400 MW southern cluster and a 160 MW northern cluster, covering a total area of some 2,800 hectares with 968,630 solar modules. The project is located in Greece’s regional units of Phthiotis and Larissa.

The EUR 395.15 million in financing includes a long-term loan of EUR 315.34 million, of which EUR 170 million is from the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (National Recovery and Resilience Fund Greece 2.0) and EUR 145.34 million from Eurobank. The remaining 20% of the investment, EUR 79.82 million, would be covered by Lightsource bp’s own funds.

Oil giant BP plans full takeover of Lightsource bp

The company was founded in 2010 as a small start-up under the name Lightsource Renewable Energy. In 2017, it partnered with BP and was rebranded Lightsource bp. It has since become one of the biggest solar developers in the world. Although it currently operates as a 50-50 joint venture, BP has recently announced the intention to fully acquire Lightsource bp.

Lightsource bp’s Kozani solar power project was sold to HELLENiQ Renewables

Lightsource bp entered the Greek market in 2020 and has since developed more than 1 GW of solar and storage projects in the country. Last year, it signed a deal to sell its Kozani photovoltaic project – a group of solar power plants under development with a combined capacity of 180 MW – to HELLENiQ Renewables, a subsidiary of Greek oil refiner, petrochemicals producer and filling stations operator HELLENiQ Energy.

The deal will come into force gradually with the start of commercial operation, which is expected this year. According to reports, 110 MW of capacity at Kozani has already been completed and is scheduled to go online in May. The project was originally planned with a capacity of 225 MW, but a 45 MW portion has been shelved.

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