Macedonia’s utility goes solar to the tune of 10 MW

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Macedonia’s state-owned electric utility, ELEM, has announced a plan to build its first large scale solar power plant.

The 10 MW project will be built thanks an investment of around €10 million ($11.5 million), provided partly by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and partly from Elem’s own funds. It is thought the EBRD’s contribution will be in the form of a loan.

The company, which has issued a general procurement notice, said the project will be tendered from early January, and the plant will be constructed on the exhausted TPP Oslomej coal mine, with the electricity produced sold into the nearby grid.

The tendering process will be conducted by e-procurement using the EBRD’s Client E-Procurement Portal (ECEPP), ELEM said in a statement.

“The project is part of the strategy of ELEM to diversify its production mix away from coal, and increase the production share from renewable energy sources which will provide clean energy in a country and a region with serious capacity shortages and high levels of carbon intensity,” the utility stated.

ELEM covers most of Macedonia’s power demand thanks to its 1.41 GW of power generation assets and imported energy. Of this capacity, 842 MW is from thermal power plants, with hydroelectricity and wind accounting for 553.6 MW and 36.8 MW, respectively.

In June however, the utility announced its intention to shutter the 125 MW Oslomej coal fired thermal power plant.

Macedonia is aiming to draw 28% of its power from renewables by 2020. The nation has made only limited efforts to include solar and new renewable energies in the mix, placing its faith in further development of its hydropower resources.

However a solar module factory was recently commissioned by Pikcell Group, in partnership with Solar ET, in the country’s capital Skopje.

According to the latest available statistics, the Balkan nation has around 18 MW of installed PV capacity.