Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, the Franciscan Province of St. Jerome in Croatia - Saint Francis Monastery Cres and Hrvatska elektroprivreda d.d. signed today in Zagreb the Cooperation Agreement for the Orlec Trinket Solar Power Plant project on the island of Cres.
The Agreement was signed by Marina Medarić, deputy prefect of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, father Zdravko Tuba, Guardian of Saint Francis Monastery Cres and Frane Barbarić, President of the Management Board of HEP d.d
The 6.5 MW Orlec Trinket project will be the first non-integrated solar power plant in HEP's portfolio. HEP has developed nine building integrated solar power plants since 2014, which have been erected on the roof of its office buildings in Zagreb, Osijek (two), Split, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Šibenik, Čakovec and Opatija. This will also be the biggest solar power plant in Croatia (currently ranked first are 1 MW ones) with the average annual production of about 8.5 GWh (kWh m) covering electricity demand of about 2,000 households.
'I am especially glad that this power plant will contribute to strengthening the infrastructure aimed at tourism development on the islands of Cres and Lošinj and provide sufficient electricity when it is most needed-at the peak of tourism season', said Frane Barbarić, the President of the Management Board of HEP d.d. during the signing ceremony adding that HEP assessed the project cost-effective despite not being incentivized, and decided to take it over thus providing a positive example and an encouragement to other potential investors in solar power plants.
Orlec Trinket East Solar Power Plant will be built on an area of 17 hectares, about 2 km north from Orlec settlement on the island of Cres. The plant is divided into 13 500 kw segments. The project has complied with a number of environmental requirements providing the possibility for sheep grazing within the fenced area containing solar panels and the uninterrupted passage of small animals within the solar power plant fence.
The project was developed by the Department of Physical Planning of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County until 6 June 2018 and the issuance of the location permit. Said Department was issued the Appropriate Assessment, the preliminary connection consent, and developed the study of optimum technical solution for connecting to the distribution network. Under HEP's public invitation, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County submitted to HEP the expression of interest for project relinquishment, which was assessed cost-effective by HEP following the analysis.
'Today we are signing the Agreement with our partner HEP, which will continue with the activities on the preparation of the construction of Orlec Trinket – East Solar Power Plant as well as ensure funds for said construction and the plant's full operation. We believe this is the start of our path to renewable energy sources and the cooperation with HEP on such or similar projects', said Marina Medarić, deputy prefect of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and added that the project would satisfy the additional demand for electricity during summer months and ensure the stability of the electric power system on the islands of Cres and Lošinj.
Having signed the Agreement, the Department of Physical Planning of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County relinquished to HEP the location permit for the construction of Orlec Trinket East Solar Power Plant, thus making HEP the project leader, and REA Kvarner the supervisor of future plant construction-related activities. HEP undertakes to continue construction preparation-related activities including the development of the main design, the issuance of the construction permit and the signing of the lease agreement as well as to ensure funds for the construction of the power plant resulting in the issuance of the operational permit and its commissioning. Total investment cost regarding the plant construction is estimated at about 45 million kuna. The Monastery undertakes to lease the land in its ownership to HEP for the period of 25 years for the purpose of plant erection.
Future plans regarding the utilization of solar energy on the island of Cres were also presented at the signing ceremony. Parallelly with the development of Orlec Trinket East, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County commenced the development of 4.14 MW Orlec Trinket West Solar Power Plant, which would amount to a total solar capacity of over 10 MW on the island of Cres.
HEP has also been considering a more intensive utilization of solar energy. The Orlec Trinket project is the first HEP's project within the planned independent development or the acquisition of construction projects of non-integrated solar power plants. Solar power plant development as well as the development of other RES plants, primarily wind farms, is a part of HEP's Development Strategy which foresees the increase of the RES share in HEP Group's electricity production to 50% by 2030 and to 70% by 2050.