Greenpeace taps solar power to screen World Cup match in Croatia

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Greenpeace is preparing a screening of the World Cup’s football match between Croatia and Cameroon on Wednesday.

The screening will take place at a local school in Drenovci, Croatia, a village severely affected by the recent floods in the Balkan region, and will be entirely solar powered.

Greenpeace activists travelled to Croatia to install the 2 kW solar photovoltaic system on the school’s rooftop in time for the opening World Cup game between the host country Brazil and Croatia on June 12.

The screening of the inaugural World Cup match was a massive success, Lucia Szabova, Greenpeace’s press officer in Central and Eastern Europe, told pv magazine. She added that the organization would also screen Wednesday’s match between Cameroon and Croatia as well as Croatia vs. Mexico on June 23.

Szabova said the 2 kW rooftop PV system would remain at the school following the football tournament and will be used to charge the 30 computers in the IT class.

Croatia’s solar PV progress

Following the devastating floods in the Balkans in May that killed dozens of people from Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia and displaced about half a million, a discussion has begun regarding the region’s recovery and infrastructure reconstruction. Greenpeace "demands that this is done in an energy efficient way."

Of the three countries, only Croatia is tied to binding renewable energy targets that stem from the country’s membership in the European Union. Specifically for solar PV, Croatia has a target to install 52 MW by 2020.

According to the latest data published by the Croatian Energy Market Operator (HROTE), Croatia’s installed photovoltaic capacity under the country’s feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme at the end of May 2014 reached 27.6 MW. Of these installations, around 14 MW were registered between February and May, which almost translates to a doubling of the country’s FIT-registered PV capacity in the last four months. Croatia’s solar photovoltaic sector growth is even more impressive when compared to the tiny 89.72 kW of solar PV capacity the Croatian FIT scheme had registered in December 2012.

The maximum capacity of a solar PV plant eligible for the Croatian FIT program is 1 MW. However, only two plants of this size are registered so far. The vast majority of the 847 PV plants registered by the end of May and totalling 27.6 MW boast an average capacity of 10 to 30 kW each, while there are about a dozen plants of about 200 to 300 kW each.

Other types of renewable energy have scored better, with the wind energy sector being by far the most successful with an installed capacity of 254.25 MW at the end of March.

However, HROTE statistics prove the British non-governmental organization (NGO) Practical Action seemingly wrong. Commenting on the World Cup’s solar power credentials, Simon Trace, Practical Action chairman, said that "10 competing countries do not even produce as much solar energy as a single World Cup stadium."

Namely, "Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Iran, Ivory Coast and Uruguay all produce less solar power than the 2.5 MW solar capability of the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia," Trace added.

Firstly, as pv magazine reported, the Brasilia stadium solar PV system has not been completed. More significantly, however, it is evident that Croatia has done much better than Practical Action suggests, although both Croatia and the World Cup could still have scoored much better, at least PV-wise.