PV project marks first generation of energy at Chernobyl since 1986 meltdown

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The opening ceremony has taken place for Solar Chernobyl SPP – a 1 MWp solar project at the industrial site of the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in Pripyat.

The event was attended by Acting General Director of SSE Chernobyl NPP Valeriy Seyda; CEO of Solar Chernobyl LLC and Consortium Rodina-Enerparc AG, Evgeny Variagin; Executive Director of Enerparc International GmbH Oliver Herzog; First Secretary of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ukraine, Herman Intemann; Chairman of the German-Ukraine Industrial Chamber of Commerce Alexander Markus; Director of SE Energorynok Yuriy Hnatiuk; and the Director of the Department of Environmental Re-engineering and Implementation of Resource Conservation Projects of JSB Rodion Morozov.

The attendees discussed perspectives of green energy development on the territory of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, the challenges and benefits of solar power project construction in contaminated areas and German-Ukrainian cooperation and business perspectives in construction and energy efficiency.

Speakers highlighted the problems of financing renewable energy projects in Ukraine, using the example of the Solar Chernobyl project, and discussed features of the feed-in-tariff as a state financial tool to drive renewable energy. After the speeches, technical specialists from Solar Chernobyl SPP made a presentation and guided a tour of the project.

The Solar Chernobyl Power Plant, with a capacity of 1 MW, is located on the industrial site of the former Chernobyl nuclear plant,  100m from the confinement of the fourth nuclear power block that exploded on 26 April 1986. The annual generation capacity of Solar Chernobyl is 1,024 MWh/year.

Since the start of July, SPP Solar Chernobyl has sold the power produced within a feed-in tariff policy. Eighteen years after decommissioning of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the first kilowatt hours were supplied to the United Energy System of Ukraine.

Solar Chernobyl is a joint project of the Rodina-Enerparc AG consortium founded in 2013. The project’s objective is the implementation of renewable energy projects in areas evacuated after the Chernobyl catastrophe.

The idea of the Solar Chernobyl project emerged in 2013 and resulted in the development by solar consortium Rodina-Enerparc AG of a construction strategy of solar projects on territories affected by the Chernobyl disaster. On 29 July 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding on the construction of a solar project on the territory of Chernobyl was signed between the consortium and the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. In 2016, project feasibility study, legal and financial roadmaps were developed; approval procedures took place for allocation of the construction plot and technical grid connection. On 27 February 2017, land lease agreement for installation of the PV project was signed and in October, Rodina and Enerparc AG began to mount equipment. In the first quarter of this year the solar plant was put into operation and on 12 June, Solar Chernobyl obtained a feed-in tariff.

The development consortium is an example of German investment and engineering expertise with local professional skills in the Ukraine. The project is the second by consortium Rodina-Enerparc AG on territory affected by the Chernobyl disaster. In summer 2016, the company completed construction of a 4.2 MW project in Bragin, in Belarus, at the decontamination site for machinery that participated in the liquidation of the nuclear facility.

Solar Chernobyl is a corporate social responsibility project for Rodina-Enerparc. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant zone has become a “black hole” in Ukraine from an environmental, social and economic point of view. Solar Chernobyl is the first and only real private investment into the zone since 1986.

“Solar Chernobyl SPP is, first and foremost, the corporate social responsibility project of the Rodina-Enerparc AG consortium”, said CEO of Solar Chernobyl and the Rodina-Enerparc AG consortium, Evgeny Variagin.

Successful implementation of the project is just the beginning. The consortium’s strategy is to scale up the Solar Chernobyl project to 100 MW. The next step for the development of the consortium’s corporate responsibility is the establishment of a Green Chernobyl charity fund. The fund will have a goal of supporting talented children and students of Ukraine interested in green energy projects, as well as promoting socially-oriented green energy initiatives in the Kyiv region. The Green Chernobyl fund will be financed from the Solar Chernobyl SPP revenues received after the initial investment is repaid as well by donations.