INTERVIEW – Croatia’s Adriatic Solar Projects Seeks Investors for 22.8 MW Portfolio
ZAGREB (Croatia), April 1 (SeeNews) – An alliance of 10 Croatian companies is seeking investors for four solar power projects with a combined capacity of 22.8 megawatts, its director said.
Adriatic Solar Projects (ASP) is a group of Croatian companies with expertise in energy efficiency, production and distribution of electricity, and the design, deployment and maintenance of solar installations and public lighting systems powered by renewable energy, Sinisa Bijelic told SeeNews in an emailed interview.
The companies established for the development of the projects, of which ASP members are co-owners, are based in the municipalities where the projects are to be developed as a guarantee before local authorities that the works will be carried out and taxes will be paid there, Bijelic said.
“We have established a special company for each project in order to be able to offer potential investors the option of entering the project with a share and on a level of their choice.“
The planned locations for the solar power projects are in Bukovica, Jasenice and Erdut in Croatia and Sombor in Serbia. ASP estimates that these projects would require a combined investment of 85 million euro ($120.8 million).
ASP is also seeking investors for a 1.0 megawatt (MW) biogas power plant in Erdut that would require a 4.0 million euro in investment, and for a 20 MW solar power plant in Bravar, also in Croatia, with a cost projected at 60 million euro.
One ASP member, BSV Solarni Sistemi, has already sold to a German buyer a 1.0 MW solar power project in Obrovac which has been issued a building permit, Bijelic said without elaborating.
The rest of the portfolio is at the preliminary analysis phase and the permitting process has not begun yet.
Bijelic said ASP has received a loan from an unnamed Croatian bank to complete one of the planned projects and the bank has agreed to finance the construction if the alliance stays on in the project as owner.
Croatia, where government regulations limit to 1.0 MW the capacity of solar power plants eligible for feed-in tariffs, has only 56 kilowatts of solar capacity on its grid, comprised entirely of rooftop installations.
According to data of Germany’s wpd, which has several wind farms in Croatia, there were 89 MW of wind power capacity in operation in the Adriatic country at the end of 2010.
The solar sector is more or less playing catch up to wind farm developers, not least of all because local administrations are very slow in updating their zoning regulations, Bijelic said. Another reason is that some developers are choosing locations not realizing they have a very small possibility for a grid connection there.
The government should scrap the cap on solar park capacity and make sure zoning procedures are sped up, the official said.
“Local authorities have to realize that these are potentially tax-paying ventures and that they can make money not only from leasing land out to solar park developers but also from becoming co-owners of the projects.”