Albania tenders 50 MW of solar

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Albania’s Ministry of Energy and Industry (MEI) has launched a long-expected auction for construction of the country’s first large-scale solar plant.

The facility will be built at the Akërni salt flats, near the Vlora river on the southeastern Adriatic. Developers have until August 24 to submit questions and a tour of the site with government officials has been organized for August 27.

Albanian renewable energy expert Lorenc Gordani told pv magazine that according to the disclosed criteria, technical and financial track records will be the decisive factors in selecting a winning bidder, although the cost of the energy generated will also be considered, with Albanian taxpayers supporting renewable resources for the next 15 years through a surcharge on their energy bills.

Dr. Gordani said attention will be paid to bidders’ ability to bring down the cost of development fund loans for a project worth €35-40 million ($40-46 million), however local media have quoted a €70 million cost for the scheme.

The Albanian government and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) opened an invitation for expressions of interest for the implementation of the auction in January and Albania’s Minister of Energy and Industry, Damian Gjiknuri, and EBRD head in Albania Matteo Colangeli, signed a memorandum of understanding for the launch of the auction in May last year.

The auction is one of several schemes the Albanian government intends to implement to support solar since it introduced a renewable energy regulation, the Law on Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewable Sources.

Under the new program, the FIT scheme for renewable energy projects up to 15 MW in size will be replaced by an auction mechanism the Albanian authorities are implementing. Another feed-in scheme will provide incentives to PV and other renewables projects up to 2 MW in scale.

Under the second scheme, around a dozen solar projects were submitted for approval to local authorities. In early August, Albanian energy regulator ERE established the regulated tariff for solar under the scheme for 2017 would be €100/MWh. For wind power it will be €76/MWh.