EBRD baits financing for landmark solar plant in Albania

Apr 24, 2023 03:13 PM ET
  • EBRD leads syndicate of IFC, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, Privredna Banka Zagreb in co-financing Karavasta solar plant in Albania
  • First big utility-scale solar PV plant in the country
  • Financial investment stems from EBRD Renewable Energy Auctions Programme
EBRD baits financing for landmark solar plant in Albania
Image: ebrd.com

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is lending EUR29 million to an Albanian special-purpose automobile, owned by France's Voltalia, to develop the 140 MW Karavasta solar plant in the Fier location of south-western Albania.

The EBRD is anchoring the EUR99 million financing structure needed to implement the project and is mobilising significant and ingenious commercial debt participation. The project's complete expense of EUR135 million is co-financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, Privredna Banka Zagreb and by Voltalia's own resources.

This project, the very first huge utility-scale solar photovoltaic plant, is a landmark for Albania. It is an outcome of the country's first affordable auction for solar power adhering to the introduction of the EBRD Renewable Energy Auctions Programme in Albania. The project will certainly work as a version for others in the Western Balkans region.

EBRD Director, Head of Energy for Europe, Grzegorz Zielinski said: "We are proud to see this project reach economic close. It will contribute meaningfully to the diversification of local generation resources, which to date have been mostly hydro. Nationally, the project will significantly raise the share of Albania's solar power generation, helping further to lower the results of climate change."

Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Director for the Western Balkans, stated: "This is an exceptional example of impactful and business-enabling policy engagement incorporated with skilful project finance structuring that leads to concrete outcomes for the country."

" The Karavasta Solar Project is a milestone for the shift in the direction of a diversified renewable energy mix in Albania. Today's signing is evidence of the high quality and sustainability of the project," said Constantin von Alvensleben, Voltalia's Country Manager for Albania. "Voltalia has taken advantage of a long-standing relationship and full alignment with the EBRD on very important elements of the project. It is as a result an excellent moment for all stakeholders, including various other loan providers - IFC and Intesa Sanpaolo - as well as the federal government of Albania as the legal partner of the project agreements."

Considering that the Karavasta auction, the EBRD has actually assisted the Albanian authorities with a solar PV auction at Spitalla and it is presently assisting with a 150 MW onshore wind auction. The EBRD is also sustaining an upcoming 300 MW solar PV auction expected in June-- the largest solar auction in the region and next in the series-- along with helping the authorities to deliver the first offshore wind capacity in Albania.

The EBRD is the biggest sponsor and enabler of renewable energy in the Western Balkans. It is currently dealing with introducing eco-friendly auctions in Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro.

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