Ukraine: 39 groups apply to build solar plants in Chernobyl wasteland

The 100 MW Perovo Solar Park in Crimea is currently Ukraine's largest PV plant. Photo: Aktiv Solar

According to Ukrainian minister for Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak, Ukraine’s State Agency for Managing the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone had received 39 applications for the allocation of land parcels to build solar power plants in the Chernobyl Zone as of January 1, 2017. At the same time it was announced that the deadline for submitting bids for the 11.7 square kilometer solar PV project was extended until March 1, 2017.

Thirteen international investors are among the 39 groups that “have requested between 20 and 1,000 hectares for projects,” Semarak said in an interview with Bloomberg. As early as November 2016, Chinese solar firm GCL System Integration, a subsidiary of GCL-Poly, said in a press release that it would cooperate with China National Complete Engineering Corp on the project in Ukraine, as part of the group’s plan to build an international presence.

Since the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986, 2,600 square kilometers of forest and marshland around the Chernobyl reactors has been marked as exclusion zone due to high levels of radiation. In 2016 the Ukrainian government announced the plan to turn the Chernobyl wasteland into a 1 GW solar farm. Shortly after this Ukraine’s parliament adopted a bill that reopens the exclusion zone to business developments.

Ukraine has embraced solar and other renewable technology in recent years, as it seeks to gain energy independence from Russia. The country has a pipeline of 54 projects expected to be installed in 2017.

Author: Carl Johannes Muth