IFC (International Finance Corporation), a member of the World Bank Group, has provided a €41-million (~$45 million) financing package to Karavasta Solar, a subsidiary of Voltalia, for the development of a 140 MW solar project and a 19-kilometer overhead transmission line in Fier municipality, western Albania.
IFC’s funding includes an A loan of up to €29 million (~31.8 million) and a B1 loan of up to €12 million (~$13.1 million), which is part of a wider package including a loan of up to €58 million (~$63.7 million) from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Intesa Sanpaolo. The Albanian government supports the project through a 30-year concession agreement awarded to Voltalia in 2019 following an international tender.
The project is the first large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Albania and one of the largest in the Western Balkans. It is expected to generate over 265 GWh of electricity annually, enough to power more than 100,000 households and avoid over 160,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
The project will also contribute to Albania’s energy security and diversification, as the country relies almost entirely on hydropower for its domestic power generation, which is seasonal and insufficient to meet its growing power demand.
“In view of a high installed capacity of 140 MWp, as well as a short realization time of a year and a half, this project has triggered a boom for solar energy in the country,” said Constantin von Alvensleben, Voltalia`s Country Manager for Albania.
The project will prioritize resilience by securing the electricity supply in the face of erratic rainfall and mounting PVs onto higher piles to protect them from coastal flooding. The project will also create local jobs and support the development of the local supply chain.
Voltalia is a utility-scale renewable energy developer and service provider operating in 20 countries across four continents. Voltalia has incorporated Karavasta Solar, a special-purpose vehicle for the solar project’s development, construction, and operation.
According to Mercom’s Q1 2023 Solar Funding and M&A report, large-scale project funding came to $5.3 billion in 62 deals, a decrease of 46% compared to $9.8 billion in 52 deals in Q4 2022.