Slovenia to deploy solar plants along highways


Slovenian solar developer Soške Elektrarne Nova Gorica (Seng) and the country’s motorway operator, Dars, plan to build several solar plants along the A1 highway, which connects major Slovenian cities such as Maribor, Slovensko Bistrica, Celje, Ljubljana, Vrhnika, Logatec, Postojna and Koper.

Seng signed an agreement with Slovenian utility Holding Slovenske elektrarne (HSE) for the construction of the plants along the highway, as well as several PV projects in the Primorska and Karst regions. Overall, the arrays will have a combined capacity of around 20 MW.

“Electricity consumption is increasing year by year, while Slovenia's self-sufficiency is falling for the third year in a row,” said Slovenian Minister for the Environment Bojan Kumer. “This is also why Slovenia needs more intensive investments in renewable energy sources. We want to make the procedures for deploying renewable energy facilities in these areas simpler and faster.”

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.

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Other countries are currently seeking to develop PV projects along highways in order to maximize land use. These include Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, South Korea, Israel, and France.

Slovenia could potentially add 258 MW of new solar capacity in 2022, according to new figures from the Slovenian Photovoltaic Association (SPA). The country installed 194 MW of solar in the first three quarters of 2022, according to its distribution system operator, SODO. Almost all capacity was added in the residential sector.

The SPA estimates that the country will reach 724 MW of cumulative capacity by the end of this year. The analysts said they also expect demand from the residential sector to continue to grow in 2023.

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