An independent power producer (IPP) formed earlier this year and backed by a leading global renewable energy investment firm announced it will build what is expected to be the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in Europe.
Rezolv Energy on Nov. 4 said it had acquired the rights to build and operate a 1,044-MW solar PV facility in Arad County in western Romania. Officials with Rezolv, which is backed by UK-based Actis, a private equity group, said the company acquired the rights to the project from the Romania-based Monsson Group, a developer of renewable energy installations and water treatment facilities.
Officials said the solar farm is in late-stage development, with Rezolv Energy already appraising technology solutions and debt financing options. Construction is expected to start by summer 2023, with commercial operation beginning in 2025.
1.5 Million MWh
Rezolv said the plant will feature about 1.6 million solar panels, with average annual power generation of some 1.5 million MWh. The power will be sold to commercial and industrial users through long-term power purchase agreements. Officials said the project may eventually integrate symbiotic agricultural activities, under an agrivoltaic structure, enabling sheep grazing and beekeeping.
Jim Campion, the chief executive of Rezolv Energy, said, “We are moving into a new era for renewable energy in Europe. Projects like this will give us the scale to provide highly competitive, subsidy-free clean power at a stable price for industrial and commercial users. It will also make a significant contribution to Europe’s twin objectives of increasing its energy independence and reducing its net emissions to zero.”
The project will be connected to 400-kV high-voltage transmission lines, and is expected to include a 135-MW battery storage system, with four-hour duration. Officials said this will enable the high-voltage lines “to be smartly loaded, balancing the variability of the renewable energy supply.”
The project is expected to support at least 500 full-time jobs during the two-year construction phase. Officials said the solar farm would require about 30 full-time workers for the life of the project. Rezolv also expects to conduct training and skills development programs for local communities.
Officials said that after construction is complete, much of what is considered “poor quality” agricultural land will be returned to pasture for sheep grazing. The project also intends to incorporate beekeeping and other measures to increase biodiversity.
Actis, a global investor in what it calls “sustainable infrastructure,” launched Rezolv Energy earlier this year. Rezolv’s leadership team had previously developed and run a portfolio of energy projects in central and southeastern Europe. The company in October said it was partnering with Low Carbon, a London, UK-based investment and asset management group, on the 450-MW Vis Viva onshore wind farm project in Romania.
“This transaction illustrates the scale of Actis’ ambition to invest in the energy transition across the world in general and in the CEE region in particular,” said Jaroslava Korpanec, partner and head of Central & Eastern Europe for Actis, in a news release. “At a time when energy security needs are driving faster adoption of renewable energy, we are excited to be funding Rezolv’s investment in Europe’s largest-ever solar photovoltaic plant, expected to provide clean power to more than 370,000 households and constructed and operated to the highest sustainability standards.”
Korpanec said Actis is “working closely with Rezolv on further renewable energy investments which we hope to announce in early 2023.”
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).