Photo: Illustration (Courtesy of EBRD)

EBRD gives €9.1M boost to Albanian floating solar farm

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has provided a €9.1 million loan for the construction of 12.9MW floating solar farm in Albania.

Illustration (Courtesy of EBRD)
Illustration (Courtesy of EBRD)

The farm will be the first floating solar photovoltaic (PV) plant of this size in Albania and the Western Balkans, according to EBRD.

The power plant will be built on the Vau i Dejës hydropower plant reservoir, which is managed by Korporata Elektroenergjitike Shqiptare (KESH).

The EBRD loan will be provided to a special-purpose vehicle owned by KESH and established for the purpose of the construction of the project.

Structured as a project finance loan and provided on a commercial basis, the EBRD loan is the first such financing by an international financial institution and will contribute to the commercialisation of KESH, one of Albania’s biggest state-owned utilities.

KESH owns and operates three large hydropower plants with a total capacity of 1,350 MW that account for about 70% of Albania’s domestic generation. The new solar PV plant will contribute to making KESH more resilient to climate-induced risks in relation to hydrology and seasonality, according to EBRD.

Francesco Corbo, EBRD Regional Head of Energy for the West Balkans, said: “The project is remarkable because of its innovative technology, positive environmental impact and commercial logic. It also has the potential to be replicated in the broader Western Balkans region, which has many hydropower reservoirs. This is our first opportunity to finance floating solar PV technology and we look forward to many similar projects in the future”.

The project also aligns with Albania’s broader ambition to develop its solar capacity, which has resulted in two successful auctions supported by the EBRD and delivering highly competitive tariffs: the 140MW Karavasta project, and the 100MW Spitalle project.

The EBRD also mobilised a €315,830 for the project preparation support, including from the green economy project preparation and implementation framework financed by the Austrian government (the DRIVE Fund) and from the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund.

Besjan Kadiu, CEO of KESH, added: “The project is of special importance for KESH. It positions the company as a contributor to Albanian and global initiatives to invest in renewable generation using innovative photovoltaic technology that is compatible with hydropower generation.

Although modest in size, the project holds opportunities not only for the further development of public generation assets on a strong commercial, technical and environmental basis, but also showcases the know-how that is required to operate a hybrid hydro-photovoltaic system”.