80 MW Solar Energy Plant to Open in Ukraine

By the end of the current year the newly built solar power plant in Crimea is set to reach the production rate of 100,000 megawatt-hours of electricity in a year. This rate makes the station the most powerful solar power plant ever built in the region and one of the largest solar power plants in the world. The power plant of this caliber is estimated to reduce Ukraine’s carbon dioxide emission by 80,000 tons.

The solar power plant in Okhotnykovo, Crimea, is a part of the country’s national Natural Energy project. The State Agency of Ukraine for Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation (SAUEEEC) launched the project in 2010. It is aimed at producing electric energy from the "clean" sources – the solar power and the wind energy- in the amount of 2,000 MW. The objective of this initiative is to supply the low transportation cost electricity and preserve the environment. The SAUEEEC expects the production share of alternative energy to make up to 30 percent of Ukrainian energy market before 2015.

The Okhotnykovo plant will provide an output of 80 MW making it the largest solar power plant in Europe. Currently, the largest solar power plant is located in Italy and produces 72 MW.

After the construction of the remaining two out of four power production lines is finished, the area of the power station will equal 207 football fields. The power plant will provide green energy for around 20,000 households.

Kaveh Ertefai, the CEO of the Austrian company "Activ Solar" responsible for the project, said: "Project of this scale means a radical change of solar energy development in Europe, while securing Ukraine’s position as renewable energy provider."

Ukraine funds its energy saving projects by the profits the government receives from selling CO2 quotes under the Kyoto protocol. In 2009, having traded its CO2 emission quota to Japan Ukraine received almost USD 400 mln from Japan.

The amount of solar radiation in Ukraine reaches from 800 to 1450 W/m² per year and provides for an expansive potential market of solar energy projects. As of 2009, Ukraine is the twelfth largest energy market in the world with an installed capacity of 54 GW. Ukraine exports its excess electricity to Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Slovakia.