The French renewables company Voltalia has won the contract for the construction and operation of a 100 MW solar plant in Albania following its successful bid in a tender run by the Albanian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) supported the tender by providing technical assistance.
The new plant, located in the area of Spitallë, in the municipality of Durrës, on the Adriatic coast, some 30 kilometers from Tirana, capital of the country. The project will benefit from the region’s very great potential of solar radiation.
Out of the 100 megawatts, 70% will be sold through a 15-year power sale contract with FTL, a state-owned operator. The remaining 30% will be sold through another long-term power sale contract negotiated with a private operator.
The Spitalla plant will be commissioned in 2023. Voltalia will be responsible for the development, construction and maintenance of the project.
“We are very pleased to have won this new project which perfectly illustrates the synergies generated by our integrated model. Already present in the country since 2018 through our activity of construction and maintenance of solar power plants for third-party customers, we have been able to develop an excellent knowledge of the country and its energy challenges. Albania benefits from an exceptional sunshine that allows for high yields of solar assets,” Sébastien Clerc, CEO of Voltalia
“The tender attracted high-quality foreign investment and will deliver solar power at a really competitive price. Delivering a tariff below EUR 30 per MWh for wholesale electricity is stunning. This is a fantastic result for Albania and for the Western Balkans overall,” Harry Boyd-Carpenter, EBRD Director, Energy Europe, Middle East and Africa, said.
The tender builds on the success of a previous competitive bidding process for solar power supported by the EBRD in Albania at the coastal site of Karavasta, where Voltalia has won the tender to build and operate a 140 MW solar plant.
It replicates that successful model in support of the development of the local electricity market; part of the electricity produced at the new solar park will benefit from a guaranteed tariff, while part will be sold directly on the free market. EBRD policy engagement to implement the necessary regulatory changes is expected to help attract more investment in the future.
“The tender delivered another landmark for the development of solar power in Albania and will attract more high-quality foreign direct investment to the country. We are proud to be supporting Albania on the path to a sustainable and diversified energy sector,” Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Head of Albania, commented.
Albania is a mountainous country, and its abundance of water resources has made it dependent on hydropower for electricity generation. The need to diversify its energy sources has been recognised as a policy priority, with a view to increasing climate change resilience and decreasing dependency on electricity imports. The country is committed to developing its solar and wind power potential.
The EBRD has been promoting the scale-up of this process through policy dialogue, technical assistance and investment. The Bank is also supporting Albania in launching the country’s first auction for utility-scale onshore wind power plants, expected in the weeks ahead. Projects totalling 150 MW of capacity will be eligible under the renewable-energy support scheme run by Albania’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has provided grant funding to support the wind auction.