State-owned water management utility Hidrosistem Streževo has installed a 500 kW photovoltaic power plant on its Streževo dam. Reservoir dams and land near such lakes are becoming increasingly popular for installing solar power plants in the region. However, the investment in North Macedonia is unique because PV plants have been installed on the dams of the hydropower plants or nearby land, not on the dams and nearby land of the lakes used for irrigation and water supply.
JP Hidrosistem Streževo manages the reservoir created by the construction of the Streževo dam. The company provides water for irrigation for one part of the Pelagonija region, water supply for parts of the nearby city of Bitola, where it is based, and its industry and flood protection for this part of North Macedonia. The hydro system is also used for the production of electricity.
The firm operates five small hydropower plants (SHPPs) with a total capacity of 3,710 kW, with annual production of 12 GWh. The 500 kW solar power plant is set to increase the firm’s electricity output by about 700 MWh.
Hidrosistem Streževo CEO Metodije Gramatkovski said it is the first public company in North Macedonia that has built a photovoltaic power plant with its funds. It invested MKD 30,000,000 (about EUR 487,000) in the PV facility.
Gramatkovski: We use water resources rationally, efficiently and for multiple purposes
He stressed that the firm uses water resources rationally, efficiently, and for multiple purposes: irrigation and energy production.
It is Hidrosistem Streževo’s first photovoltaic power plant. Still, there is a possibility to build a second one as the firm has obtained the construction permit for a capacity of up to 1 MW, Gramatkovski said.
The investment will increase income and contribute to the country’s goal to increase the use of clean energy.
JP Hidrosistem Streževo intends to sell electricity on the market, Gramatkovski said and added that he expects the investment would pay off in the short term.
More and more PV plants are installed near water reservoirs
Reservoir dams and land near artificial lakes are becoming increasingly popular for installing PV facilities.
It is a good combination because such land often cannot be used for anything else, while it is well equipped with infrastructure. Moreover, the solution enables the integration of solar parks and hydroelectric units into hybrid power plants.
Elsewhere in Southeastern Europe, projects are finished or being developed by 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.