Albania preps to host first utility-scale PV projects

Albania’s Ministry of Energy and Industry has received a project proposal for a 1.7 MW PV power plant.

The application was filed by local companies Albanian General Electricity SH.A. and A.E. Distribution. The project, which is planned to be located in Fier, in the homonym province, and built at a cost of €2 million ($2.1 million), will likely compete in the country’s upcoming renewable energy auctions, which were introduced with the new renewable energy law approved by the Albania Parliament in February.

This is not the first project proposal for PV currently under examination by the ministry. In November 2016, a consortium formed by local companies Solar Gamma Sh.p.k., Alfa Energy Sh.p.k., Beta Energy Sh.p.k., Delta Solar Sh.p.k. and Solaris Sh.p.k. has proposed to build a 50 MW PV plant in Malik, a municipality in Korçë County of eastern Albania.

Furthermore, the special purpose vehicle Novoselë Photovoltaic PowerPlant Sh.P.K. proposed to build a 50 MW PV power plant in Novoselë, a village in the Vlorë County, southwestern Albania in August 2016. The project’s required investment was valued at €72 million ($76.6 million).

In the same month, the company Sun & Wind Energy Corporation submitted a project proposal to build a 30 MW hybrid wind-solar power facility in the southern region of Himara. This project is expected to be built in several phases by 2030 and to require an aggregate investment of €45 million ($47.8 million).

Albania has so far seen a limited development of solar energy. In February of this year, however, the local Parliament approved a new renewable energy law draft, which is expected to boost investments in renewable energies other than hydropower.

Under the new law, named Law on Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewable Sources, power utilities will be obliged to pay a 15-year regulated tariff to renewable energy power producers. The law also includes an auction mechanism for the selection of large-scale renewable energy projects, including wind and solar. The tender scheme will replace the country’s FIT scheme for renewable energy projects up to 15 MW, which came into force in 2013 but was never applied for solar and wind due to the lack of a secondary legislation. Under the new rules, however, renewable energy has not been given priority with regard to grid connection as under the FIT scheme.

Albania’s total installed capacity at the end of 2015 totaled 1,895 MW, out of which 98 MW was from thermoelectric generation and the rest, around 95% of installed power, was from hydropower sources.