Renewables

Voltalia breaks ground in Albania for biggest solar park in Western Balkans

Voltalia breaks ground Albania biggest solar park Western Balkans Karavasta

Photo: Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy / Facebook screenshot

Published

July 1, 2022

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Published:

July 1, 2022

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The site for the Karavasta solar park spans 196 hectares in Fier county in Albania’s west. Planned at 140 MW, it would currently be the biggest photovoltaic system in the Western Balkans.

Voltalia marked the start of the construction of the Karavasta solar power plant near the eponymous wetland and lagoon in western Albania. The company based in France won the project at an auction held two years ago. The Karavasta solar park will consist of 240,000 bifacial panels, the investor said. The technology is more efficient than conventional photovoltaics as it enables additional output from the light that reflects off the ground.

The facility is planned to have 140 MW in capacity, which would currently make it the biggest solar power plant in the Western Balkans by far. The site spans 196 hectares in the region of Fier. Without specifying the projected annual output, Voltalia said it would be sufficient for the electricity needs of 220,000 people in Albania.

Government to buy half of output for 15 years at winning auction price

Voltalia has won a 30-year concession. According to the terms of the tender, 50% of the electricity would be sold through a 15-year sales contract to the Albanian public operator, while the remainder will be sold through long-term contracts to private operators. The company said it expects to commission the Karavasta solar park in the second half of 2023.

The photovoltaic plant will consist of 240,000 bifacial panels

“We are particularly proud to support the Albanian energy transition. By its size, the Karavasta project is a major element of this policy aimed at increasing the country’s energy independence through an economically competitive and environmentally efficient energy,” said Sébastien Clerc, CEO of Voltalia.

Government officials estimated the investment at EUR 100 million.

Voltalia in Albania

Voltalia has been present in Albania since 2018 through turnkey construction contracts for third-party customers for three photovoltaic power plants of 7.5 MW in total, located 10 kilometers from the future Karavasta plant.

In May 2021, the company won its second solar project in Albania, called Spitalla. The planned capacity is 100 megawatts. The site is in the Dürres region on the Adriatic coast in the vicinity of the village of Spitallë. Voltalia, as for Karavasta, will be the developer, builder and operator. Commissioning is scheduled for 2024, it said.

Voltalia has generating capacity in operation and under construction of more than 2 GW and a portfolio of projects under development representing a total capacity of 11.1 GW, the statement adds. It is active in 20 countries on three continents, also as a service provider for renewable energy projects.

Of note, the biggest solar power plant in Southeastern Europe excluding Turkey, Hellenic Petroleum’s 204.3 MW unit in the Kozani area in Greece, is also made of bifacial panels. It is also the largest facility of its kind in Europe.

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