The money has come from the EBRD’s EUR 85 million ‘Western Balkans Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF)- an EU initiative that aims to make the region greener through encouraging investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
EU Ambassador to Albania, Luigi Soreca told reporters that the new loan facility signifies the commitment of the EU to creating a greener economy for the benefit of all Albanians. He added that the initiative is expected to cut over 21,000 tons of CO2 across the region each year.
Also announced this week was the fact that Norwegian company Statkraft’s Albanian subsidiary has entered into an agreement with floating solar technology developer Ocean Sun for the provision of a floating solar panel in the country. The new plant will have a maximum capacity of 2MW and will be located at the Banja reservoir in the southeast of the country.
The floating solar park will include four units of 0.5 MW each, with an investment value of EUR 2.3 million.
The project is somewhat experimental however, with CEO of Statkraft, Christian Rynning- Tonnesen stating;
“Testing new technology for floating solar power panels fits very well with Statkraft’s strategy to grow our renewable energy generation from hydro, wind and solar. If the technology is proven successful and the potential for cost-competitiveness can be achieved, a wider application of floating solar may take place in other Statkraft locations.”
Statkraft is one of the largest renewable energy companies in Europe but also has interests in Albanian hydropower- a source of much controversy. Under a concession agreement with the Albanian government, another subsidiary Devoll Hydropower will develop and operate hydro plants on the Devoll river.
Whilst Albania gets much of its power from hydropower plants, particularly those located on the Drin river, they are not a popular option with citizens. With growing concerns about the impact of such projects on rivers and national parks in the country, the use of solar panels is considered as a welcome alternative.
Enjoying almost 300 days of sunshine every year, Albania has a huge, largely untapped potential for creating most of its power from solar panels. This solution has the potential to create a truly sustainable source of power both for the state and individuals, whilst minimising the negative impact on the Albanian countryside.
This article was originally published on The Balkanista.