TeraPlast receives US1.21 million in EU funding for 4.56MW Romanian solar plant

TeraPlast’s buildings in Bistrița. Credit: TeraPlast

Romanian plastics company TeraPlast has received Lei5.5 million (€1.1 million) from the EU via the national government to build a 4.56MWp PV plant in the Industrial Park of Sărățel in northern Romania.

The project will be used to power the company’s operations at the industrial park, and will be partially funded by the EU’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), a framework for new funding opportunities offered to many EU countries following the Covid-19 pandemic. Romanian companies have been eligible to bid for NRRP funds from the national government, and TeraPlast was awarded the funding following the first round of bidding.

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The NRRP funding will help TeraPlast complete a 0.9MW battery storage facility in addition to the solar modules, as the company looks to secure a reliable source of clean energy for its industrial operations. The company expects to finish construction of the project in June 2024.

“The project for building the photovoltaic capacity is the guarantor of the sustainable development of TeraPlast’s business,” said TeraPlast operational director Nicolae Roșu. “Due to the specifics of our activity, we have a considerable consumption of electricity, and the provision of a substantial part from internally developed renewable sources helps us in our sustained effort of decarbonisation and the enforcement of environmentally friendly solutions.”

The company will provide around €3.4 million (US$3.7 million) of its own funding to complete the project, as it looks to invest in renewable power to support its operations. TeraPlast constructed a new plastics production factory at the plant in 2020, building works estimated to be worth €10 million, and a leading construction manufacturer using solar panels to power, at least in part, one of its facilities is an encouraging step for the solar sector.

While the project itself will be of relatively small capacity, it could form part of a growing wave of interest in solar power in Romania. The national government plans to meet 30.7% of its energy needs with renewables by 2030, and is aiming to add 3.7GW of new solar capacity by the end of the decade to help meet this goal.

This government support, however, could be crucial as the EU funding has not materialised elsewhere in the Romanian energy sector.

The NRRP is the cornerstone of the NextGenerationEU project, a massive EU scheme to deliver €723.8 billion to member states to aid in the Covid-19 recovery in the form of loans and grants. In April, the Romanian government bid for €3.2 billion from this fund, but was only granted €1.9 billion from the NRRP fund, and given nothing from other funds, such as the Just Transition Fund, raising questions as to how Romania will be able to finance new large-scale clean power projects.

The Romanian government, however, remains committed to solar power in particular, making plans to launch the first round of its contracts for difference, in which it aims to award 1GW of solar PV, in September.

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