Investors line up to join solar boom in Serbia
The law on renewable energy sources will open the door for a solar boom, and substantial photovoltaic capacities can be built and connected to the grid very quickly, according to speakers at the first major solar energy conference in Serbia. They revealed that investors had already shown great interest and that a € 12 billion investment cycle in energy would be set in motion when the statutes were completed.
Solar power plants will be the main driver, together with hydropower plants, of the energy transition and decarbonisation process in Serbia, aiming to increase the share of renewable energies in electricity production to 40% by 2040, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mines and Energy Zorana Said Mihajlović.
Opening the first major solar energy conference in Serbia, she expressed the conviction that the bill on renewable energy sources, to be presented to the National Assembly tomorrow, would be a big step forward. Mihajlović added that the government will continue to cooperate with investors and international organizations and financial institutions on the upcoming regulations.
Mihajlović: The government will continue to cooperate with investors and international organizations and financial institutions on the next statutes
The settlement will be completed in a few months, she said. According to the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister, the domestic energy sector is about to enter an investment cycle worth 12 billion euros.
Mihajlović and other speakers said at the start of the conference that the bill was drafted in an inclusive and transparent manner and would allow citizens to become prosumers. This means that they can set up solar systems and provide excess power to the grid. The event was organized by Balkan Green Energy News.
The solar industry can be a game-changer and significantly contribute to jobs and the recovery of the Serbian economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, said Branislava Jovičić, founder and editor-in-chief of Balkan Green Energy News. According to her, new legislation combined with investor interest offers an opportunity for a big leap forward over the next five or ten years.
Serbia can and must install 1 GW of solar capacity by 2030
CWP Vice President for Serbia Maja Turković said massive activity was evident in the industry over the past month and that over the next ten years the country “can and must” build 1 GW of solar power capacity.
As a first step, investors will participate in auctions to obtain market premiums for parts of their solar power plants, while the output of the rest would be sold on the open market. Over time, all capacity will shift to the open market and solar power producers will be the biggest cash generator in the electricity market, Turković said.
Energize director Vladimir Popović stressed that citizens and industry would save money by building their own solar systems. As for the companies alone, they bring technical progress and the reduction of production costs, he added. Energize offers free advice and even free feasibility studies.
Law to initiate the energy revolution
There is “a revolution” in the planned investments in renewable energies in Serbia as the new law is about to be adopted, said Janez Kopač, director of the Secretariat of the Energy Community. He asserted that everyone in the developed world is geared towards green energy and the rapid expansion has been made possible by falling prices for the technology.
Serbia took on the obligation to introduce carbon pricing, and “no one in Serbia would invest anything in coal” if the spending was included, warned Kopač. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, the country’s solar potential is nearly 3.6 GW, against only 11 MW of installed capacity so far, he said during his presentation.
Loss of number of potential investors
Zsuzsanna Hargitai, regional director for the Western Balkans at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, stressed that the international financial institution “had lost count” of those who wanted to invest in photovoltaic and solar thermal systems for district heating in Serbia. The EBRD is ready to support such projects, including the residential sector, and to increase the funds available, she said.
The lender will participate in the conversion of the district heating system in the city of Kragujevac from coal to gas, which is to be carried out immediately and can be combined with some form of renewable energy at a later stage, Hargitai said.
Photovoltaics is already competitive with any conventional energy source, and it will become the cheapest by 2030, according to Benedikt Ortmann of SolarPower Europe and German company BayWa re He noted that solar irradiance in Serbia is excellent.