French renewable project developer Voltalia stated via a press release that it has secured a new 100MW solar tender from Albania. The tendered project is named Spitalla and will be located in the city of Durrës on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. This is the second Albanian solar project captured by the company in less than a year. Last August, the Albanian government entered into agreement with Voltalia to build a 140MW solar park at the edge of the Karavasta Lagoon.
With a generation capacity of 100MW and an area size of 121ha, the Spitalla project was issued by the Albanian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy last November. According to reports from various media outlets including Balkan Green Energy News, five bidders participated in the tendering process (or the auction), which was completed this February. Voltalia was awarded the project because it offered the best price. Under the terms of the tender, Voltalia has a 30-year concession contract for the project site and a 15-year PPA to provide a state-owned distribution system operator with 70% of the generation capacity. The remaining 30% will be sold to a private distribution system operator via another long-term agreement. The entire project will be built and maintained by Voltalia.
The project site is just 30km away from Tirana, the capital city of Albania. Sébastien Clerc, CEO of Voltalia, stated that Albania has great potential with respect to the development of solar projects due to the favorable Mediterranean climate. He further pointed out that Voltalia has been constructing and maintaining PV power plants for third-party customers in the country since 2018, so the company possesses a substantial amount of local experience. Belinda Balluku, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, thanked the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development for assisting the Albanian government in arranging the auction for the Spitalla project. She also noted that the price offered by Voltalia was surprisingly low.
The Spitalla project is scheduled for operation in 2023. This is the second solar project that the Albanian government has put up for tender in less than a year. Last May, Voltalia secured the tender for the 140MW Karavasta project, which is located near the Spitalla project and has the same business model (i.e., a 30-year concession contract and a 15-year PPA). Hence, Voltalia should be able to effectively coordinate the construction and operation of the two PV power plants.
Albania currently relies on hydropower for much of its electricity production. However, intense droughts related to climate change are forcing the country to diversify its energy mix.