EBRD leads on financing for landmark solar plant in Albania

  • EBRD leads syndicate of IFC, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, Privredna Banka Zagreb in  co-financing Karavasta solar plant in Albania
  • First large utility-scale solar PV plant in the country
  • Investment stems from EBRD Renewable Energy Auctions Programme

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is lending €29 million to an Albanian special-purpose vehicle, owned by France’s Voltalia, to develop the 140 MW Karavasta solar plant in the Fier area of south-western Albania.

The EBRD is anchoring the €99 million financing structure required to implement the project and is mobilising significant and innovative commercial debt participation. The project’s total cost of €135 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 first large utility-scale solar photovoltaic plant, is a landmark for Albania. It is a result of the country’s first competitive auction for solar power following the introduction of the EBRD Renewable Energy Auctions Programme in Albania. The project will act as a model 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 financial close.  It will contribute meaningfully to the diversification of local generation sources, which to date have been mostly hydro. Nationally, the project will significantly increase the share of Albania’s solar power generation, helping further to reduce the effects of climate change.”

Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Director for the Western Balkans, said: “This is an excellent example of impactful and business-enabling policy engagement combined with skilful project finance structuring that leads to concrete results for the country.”

“The Karavasta Solar Project is a milestone for the transition towards a diversified renewable energy mix in Albania. Today’s signing is proof of the quality and sustainability of the project,” said Constantin von Alvensleben, Voltalia’s Country Manager for Albania. “Voltalia has benefitted from a long-standing relationship and full alignment with the EBRD on all important aspects of the project. It is therefore a great moment for all stakeholders, including other lenders - IFC and Intesa Sanpaolo - as well as the government of Albania as the contractual partner of the project agreements.”

Since the Karavasta auction, the EBRD has helped the Albanian authorities with a solar PV auction at Spitalla and it is currently assisting with a 150 MW onshore wind auction. The EBRD is also supporting an upcoming 300 MW solar PV auction expected in June – the largest solar auction in the region and next in the series – as well as helping the authorities to deliver the first offshore wind capacity in Albania.

The EBRD is the largest financier and enabler of renewable energy in the Western Balkans. It is currently working on introducing renewable auctions in Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro.