Bulgaria: municipality of Devnya preps to host 180 MW solar plant

After several years of stagnation, the Bulgarian solar market (and its utility-scale segment) could receive a considerable push from a giant PV project which is currently being planned in Devnya, a town in Varna Province, Northeastern Bulgaria.

The local municipality has announced on its website it has already given preliminary permits to change the intended use of four properties which are planned to host the 180 MW solar park. The town government said the project will require an investment of over €100 million, and that the municipality will receive around €2 million as soon as the building approval will be granted.

The project is expected to be built in three stages by local company 4B Solar and to be finalized by the end of 2022. The company will also build a substation to connect the plant with the local grid. No more details were released by the local authorities on what could be not only Bulgaria’s largest PV plant, but one of Europe’s biggest solar parks.

It is not clear if the project will receive any sort of support from the Bulgarian government, or if it will eventually compete in future energy auctions that the European Union is recommending to adopt to all EU countries. According to information provided to pv magazine by the Bulgarian Solar Association (BSA), however, net metering for residential and commercial PV and auctions for large-scale renewable energy projects are two options that the Bulgarian government is currently not considering.

The development of large-scale solar was halted in Bulgaria with the closure of the FIT scheme in 2013. Since then, only a few megawatts of residential PV systems were connected to the country’s grid. The country’s cumulative PV capacity had reached around 1.2 GW as of the end of December 2012. Most of this installed power is represented by large-scale PV plants which came online in 2012.