Kness Group to build 400 MW solar panel factory in Ukraine

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Ukraine-based renewable energy company, Kness Group is building a 400 MW PV panel manufacturing facility in Vinnytsia, in the homonymous administrative region of west-central Ukraine.

In a statement to pv magazine, the company said the factory will be built in two 200 MW phases, and that the first phase will be finalized by the end of this year. “Realization of the first stage with the placement of first production line, administrative buildings, warehouses and outer electric mains is planned to be done by the end of the year 2018,” the company said. The second phase will be implemented by the end of 2019, the spokesperson added.

The facility will manufacture modules for residential and C&I installations with a nominal capacity ranging from 275 W to 330 W. “The modules will be certified in accordance with the requirements of Germany’s TÜV Rheinland and will meet the requirements of latest international quality criteria,” said the company. Kness anticipates sales in Ukraine, as well as in other European countries and globally, it continued, without providing further details on the new factory.

Kness Group has developed, and is building, several PV power plants in Ukraine, which is currently granting FITs for large-scale solar. According to its website, in the region of Vinnytsia, its PV plant portfolio has a capacity of 97.6 MW, while another 51.7 MW are being deployed in the Kherson region, in southern Ukraine. More projects were developed, or are being developed, in the Kiev region (6 MW), in the Kirovograd Region (17 MW), in the Odessa region (9.5 MW) and the Dnipropetrovsk region (1 MW).

In March of this year, the company secured funds from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) to build three of its projects in the Vinnytsia region. The projects are also receiving technical assistance from the EU4Business program, which supports the EU’s projects to back small and medium-sized enterprises in Eastern Europe.

Ukraine’s current legislation grants 5% higher FITs to PV projects that are built with with 30% to 50% domestically manufactured equipment. Those with a domestic content of 50% or more will receive a 10% higher payment under the FIT. To be eligible for the domestic content rules, plants have to be commissioned by December 31, 2024.

The FITs are fixed in Euros for the next 15 years, and vary according to the commissioning time. For ground-mounted solar plants, the tariffs are set at €0.1502/kWh for projects powered between 2017 and 2019, €0.1352 for 2020 to 2024, and €0.1201 for plants commissioned between 2025 and 2029.