Statkraft plans its first floating solar plant in Albania

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Norwegian state-owned energy provider Statkraft is planning a 2 MW floating PV plant at the Banja hydropower reservoir in Albania, where it owns the Banja HPP 72 MW hydropower plant.

The company told pv magazine the project proposal was submitted by special purpose vehicle Statkraft Renewables Albania shpk to the Albanian Ministry of Energy and Industry (MEI) in mid-December.

“As a next step, required permits as well as a PPA with a regulated feed in tariff need to be in place so that the project can start,” said the company statement. “In parallel, a process is ongoing with potential suppliers to secure the delivery of the first floating solar plant [for] Statkraft.”

PV projects of up to 2 MW of capacity are eligible for a FIT, under Albanian regulation. It is unclear, however, under which criteria the MEI is approving projects, and what the FIT contract’s duration is.

Second floating PV project for Albania

“The PV project proposal is a contemporary technological solution which will enable [the] saving of land and exploitation of the water surface of Banja reservoir,” the company added. The project is also aimed at exploring the feasibility of the large scale application of solar panels attached directly to a floating membrane, allowing for efficient cooling of panels and utilization of land area.

The project is the second floating solar proposal submitted to the Albanian authorities. The first, with a planned capacity of 12.9 MW, was presented by state-owned utility Korporata Elektroenergjetike Shqiptare in early December.

Albania has strong potential for floating solar as it depends almost entirely on hydropower and has an abundance of water surfaces as a result.

Statkraft in September unveiled a NOK10 billion ($1.23 billion) plan aimed at deploying some 6 GW of onshore wind and 2 GW of solar by 2025. In Albania, it owns the Devoll hydropower project, which consists of the above-mentioned Banja hydropower plant and the 184 MW Moglice HPP project on the same river cascade, which is under construction.