UK developer acquires Europe’s largest PV project


UK-based Rezolv Energy has agreed to acquire a 1,044 MW solar project from Romanian developer Monsson.

The project in Arad county, western Romania, is in a late-stage development phase. Rezolv Energy is now looking for technological solutions and debt financing options. It expects to start construction in the early months of next year and the plant is set for commissioning by 2025. It did not reveal the financial terms of the transaction.

Rezolv Energy was launched in August, backed by €500 million ($487.8 million) from sustainable infrastructure investor Actis. Upon its establishment, the company said it would “provide subsidy-free clean energy at a long-term, stable price for commercial and industrial users, and other off-takers” in the central and southeastern parts of Europe. It also announced agreements to acquire the development rights to two wind projects with a combined capacity of 1 GW.

The Romanian solar market is ready for a boom. Growth will be driven by an anticipated CfD scheme, which could guarantee a minimum electricity sale price and replace the former green certificates scheme.

“According to Romania's National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), the first CfD round for at least 1500 MW of capacity is supposed to be organized in 2H 2023 and the second in 1H 2025 for an additional 2000 MW,” Mihai Balan, the executive director of the Romanian Photovoltaic Industry Association (RPIA), told pv magazine.

The scheme, which the Romanian government is developing in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), will be worth €125 million a year, based on guidelines published in 2020.

“It is a milestone in our NRRP that we have the first capacities supported by this mechanism up and running by 2026,” Balan said. “Initially, we were expecting the scheme to be presented to the public at the end of this year, but now, with the current situation on the energy market and the fact that we are steadily heading toward a regulated market, it is safe to say that we will see the details early 2023 at best.”

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Earlier this year, Romanian Energy Minister Virgil Popescu told Reuters that the scheme will translate into “an explosion of renewable energy development.” However, he noted that CfDs would also be used “to finance conventional energy such as nuclear.”

Romanian solar is also having its time in the sun due to a combination of recent positive developments. They include the removal of a ban on power purchases agreements after almost 10 years, 1:1 quantitative compensation for prosumers with installations up to 200 kW in size, and the country’s first renewables tender for the deployment of 950 MW.

RPIA has responded by raising its expectations for at least 3 GW of renewables to be added by 2026, with solar accounting for around 2 GW of the total.

“We believe that more than 65% out of this capacity will come from solar, because of its shorter deployment time and given the obligation to have these projects connected to the grid by 2024,” Balan said earlier this year.

Romania could receive more than €16 billion in EU recovery and modernization funds by 2030 for its energy sector overhaul. The government has already allocated €457.7 million for the 950 MW procurement exercise launched in March, which was open to wind and solar projects, with the possibility of links to storage.

The country has committed to phasing out coal by 2032 and replacing it with nuclear, gas and renewable energy. It has also vowed to restructure lignite-fired holding CE Oltenia by 2026 and replace its old capacity with 725 MW of solar power and some gas.

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