Large-scale PV finds footing in Slovenia


Large-scale PV has thus far struggled to gain much development traction in Slovenia, with only a few projects being announced in recent years, due to restrictions on land use. The difficulty of identifying suitable surfaces has pushed developers to become creative. For example, Slovenian hydropower plant operator HESS announced plans in December to build a 6 MW solar park close to its 47.7 MW Brežice hydroelectric plant on the lower reaches of the Sava River.

It is building the facility on the right bank of the river between a grove and an embankment, 3 km upstream from the hydropower plant. “It is a sediment dump area, measuring approximately 9 hectares. And the solar power plant will cover 6 hectares,” the company said at the time.

A similar project is now being constructed by Dravske elektrarne Maribor, a renewable energy producer owned by Slovenia-based power utility Holding slovenske elektrarne (HSE). Last week, Dravske elektrarne Maribor began workong on a 2.7 MW ground-mounted PV plant in Zlatolicje, a village on the right bank of the Drava River, southeast of Maribor in the northeastern part of the country.

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The €2 million ($2.4 million) solar park is being deployed on a slope of the left bank of the drainage canal at the Zlatolicje hydroelectric power plant, which accounts for more than one-fifth of all the electricity generated by Dravske elektrarne Maribor. The plant is expected to generate 3,000 MWh per year and is the first section of a 30 MW solar park that will be further expanded at a later stage. The company said it is also building a 3 MW solar plant on the Prapretno waste landfill near Hrastnik, in the Central Sava Valley in central Slovenia.

According to the latest statistics from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Slovenia's total installed PV capacity stood at just 267 MW by the end of 2020, on new annual additions of just 3 MW. Most of its existing capacity comes from rooftop PV installed in 2012 (122 MW), 2011, (54 MW) and 2010 (37 MW) under the national feed-in tariff scheme, which expired at the end of 2013.

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