Montenegro is counting gigawatts in photovoltaic projects but has little to show for it

Another investor in Montenegro has made a step forward with a major solar power project – a facility with a peak capacity of 280 MW is envisaged to be installed in Bijelo Polje. However, the country still does not have a single utility-scale photovoltaic facility. Such investments can’t seem to really get off the ground despite government approvals.

Project firm EE Korita intends to install a solar power plant on 505 hectares in Bijelo Polje in Montenegro’s northeast. It filed a request to the Environmental Protection Agency to decide whether an environmental impact assessment report is necessary for the photovoltaic facility, with a proposed peak capacity of 280 MW and a 240 MW grid connection.

The location, owned by local firm Farma Moravac, is near the village of Korita. Most of it is pasture land. Expected annual output is 331 GWh.

According to the domestic business registry, EE Korita was founded by EE Croatia APS. It is run by top executives from Denmark-based European Energy.

Only solar power plant under construction is in Zeljezara Nikšić

The latest major project on the pile of proposed solar power investments formally backed by the government highlighted the fact that Montenegro still doesn’t have a single utility-scale photovoltaic facility. Even the Briska gora project, under development by Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) and Fortum from Finland, can’t seem to get off the ground.

EPCG’s 3.7 MW project for solar power plants on two dams at Montenegro’s largest hydropower plant is among the nation’s energy investment priorities

The solar power plant is envisaged at 50 MW in the first phase and another 200 MW later. In addition, the state-owned coal and electricity producer plans to build the first floating solar power plant in Montenegro and one of the first in the region, at its Slano reservoir near the city of Nikšić. It said the facility would have 40 MW.

However, the installation of 47 MW on the roofs and on land at the former steelworks Željezara Nikšić, which EPCG has taken over early this year, is underway, with 10 MW in the first phase. The utility is also based in the country’s second-largest city.

It should be noted that the company intends to build two solar power plants at the Slano and Vrtac dams of its hydropower plant Perucica, with a combined capacity of 3.7 MW. The government included it in priority investments, Last but not least, EPCG and United States-based UGT Renewables agreed in November to jointly develop renewables and energy storage projects.

Some photovoltaic projects in Montenegro are among the largest in Europe

Only since late last year, the nameplate capacity of planned solar power investments that received urban planning and technical requirements from the government in Podgorica has reached the gigawatt scale. Some of the projects are among the largest in Southeastern Europe and beyond.

It is becoming clear that the scope exceeds the country’s needs and that it could take years to build the required transmission and other grid infrastructure. Countries with saturated renewable energy project pipelines usually introduce guarantee payments per megawatt or give an advantage to projects paired with battery storage.

At the top of the list in terms of capacity is RES Montenegro Group, which has received urban planning and technical requirements for a 506 MW facility. CWP Europe is developing the Montechevo project of 400 MW. Both locations are on the territory of the historical capital of Cetinje.

The three biggest proposed investments in the sector are all intended in locations around the historical capital of Cetinje

A 150 MW system is planned by a firm called Solar Power in the village of Velestovo, where RES Montenegro Group’s PV park would be, while MEnergy recently signed the first agreement on connecting a solar power plant of 385 MW to the grid. It intends to install it on land in Nikšić and Cetinje.

Montenegro has been preparing for years to award a concession for 200 MW at the Velje brdo hill in Podgorica.

Unipan Green received urban planning and technical requirements for a solar power plant with a connection capacity of up to 100 MW. The location is in Botun, just south of Podgorica, where the company is registered.

A 240 MW project under development by Somsol, based in the capital city, has the same status. The photovoltaic plant is set to be built in Somina in Nikšić.

The government issued one other such document, for a photovoltaic park of up to 15 MW in connection capacity in Povija in Nikšić. The firm, TM Invest, is based in Podgorica. The same developer got urban planning and technical requirements in April for a solar park on two locations in Bogetići near Nikšić. The connection capacity is seen at up to 18 MW.

Hungarian company developing agrisolar project on border with Serbia

Another large project is for an agrisolar park in the Vuča settlement in the municipality of Rožaje. BSD Invest Europe from Hungary is planning a peak capacity of 148.3 MW and a 123.6 MW connection at the location on the border with Serbia. It got the urban planning and technical requirements last month.

Sunrise Europe, based in the seaside town of Kotor, intends to set up a solar park with a peak capacity of 220 MW in Šavnik while the company Obnovljivi izvori energije is preparing to build a 225 MW facility in Cetinje.

Two weeks ago, the government issued urban planning and technical requirements for 60 MW peak capacity in Velestovo in Cetinje, as well as for a 68 MW photovoltaic facility in Nikšić. A firm called New Age Energy Tri submitted the application for the latter.

Golden Group from the seaside town of Kotor is planning a solar power plant of 12.5 MW at peak capacity in Draževina in Podgorica, according to its recent request to the Environmental Protection Agency to determine the need for environmental impact assessment.

The urban planning and technical requirements were issued in February to an enterprise called Montenegro Investment and Holdings. The facility is envisaged with a connection of 10.4 MW. Sunrise Europe is an affiliate of the Golden Group.

Two weeks ago, the government issued urban planning and technical requirements for 60 MW peak capacity in Velestovo in Cetinje, as well as for a 68 MW photovoltaic facility in Nikšić. A firm called New Age Energy Tri submitted the application for the latter.

Of note, Montenegro lowered the value-added tax for solar panels at the turn of the year.

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