A 12.9MW floating PV plant is set to be deployed at a hydropower reservoir in Albania thanks to a loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Structured as a project finance loan and provided on a commercial basis, the €9.1 million (US$10.7 million) loan will be provided to a special-purpose vehicle established by state-owned utility Korporata Elektroenergjitike Shqiptare (KESH).
According to EBRD, the funding will enable the development of the first floating PV project of its size in the Western Balkans, making KESH more resilient to climate-induced risks in relation to hydrology and seasonality.
KESH owns and operates three hydropower plants in Albania that have a total capacity of 1,350MW. The floating solar project will be installed at the 260MW Vau i Dejës hydropower facility.
The floating plant has the potential to be replicated in the broader Western Balkans region, which has many hydropower reservoirs, according to Francesco Corbo, EBRD regional head of energy for the West Balkans.
“We are delighted to support this groundbreaking project, which is another major step in Albania’s successful drive to boost solar capacity and improve its energy mix. The project is remarkable because of its innovative technology, positive environmental impact and commercial logic,” he said.
Construction work of another floating PV project in Albania kicked off last year, with Ocean Sun hired by Norwegian utility Statkraft to build a 2MW installation at its 72MW Banja hydro plant.
The EBRD has also supported Albania’s solar sector through two auctions: one for a 140MW project and another for a 100MW facility that were both awarded to French renewables firm Voltalia.