Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP Group), a Croatian state-owned power utility, has started building the 6.5 MW SE Cres solar power plant on the island of Cres.
The project, designed to ensure sufficient electricity supply throughout the peak tourist season, will be deployed on a 17-hectare plot of land, just north of the municipality of Orlec. It will consist of 17 sub-units of 500 kW and will feature 20,330 panels provided by Croatian manufacturer Solvis d.o.o.
“The panels will be placed so as to allow the unimpeded passage of small animals inside the solar power plant fence and grazing sheep within the fenced area,” HEP said.
The plant was assigned via a tender to a consortium led by Austrian developer PVI GmbH. Commercial operations are scheduled to begin by the end of the year.
The project is part of HEP’s 350 MW plan to expand its solar power generation portfolio. It will initially build four PV plants with a combined capacity of 11.6 MW for around HRK80 million ($11.8 million). HEP said it will annually invest HRK150 million in solar projects until 2023, which should result in a total investment of around HRK750 million and annual capacity additions of about 20 MW.
By the end of 2019, Croatia had installed approximately 69 MW of solar. Around 50 MW of that capacity was deployed under a feed-in tariff scheme for rooftop solar, which expired in 2015.
In order to sustain development, the Croatian government introduced new provisions to tender 1 GW of large-scale PV in May. Overall, the government aims to assign 2.26 GW of renewable energy capacity under the scheme, while also including other sources such as hydropower, wind, biomass, biogas, and geothermal energy.