Greece Gets Europe’s Largest Bifacial Solar Farm to Power 75,000 Houses
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inaugurated the 204 MW solar farm in Kozani, Macedonia that can supply power to 75,000 households
With a claim to undergo clean energy transformation, Greece’s biggest oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum (HelPe) has set up Europe’s largest bifacial solar farm in Kozani, Macedonia. The 204-megawatt solar farm with two-sided panels will supply power to around 75,000 households. It will also connect to the country’s power grid within a few weeks.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inaugurated the event, launching the largest solar park in Europe. During the event, Mitsotakis revealed that this project reflects the nation’s goals for clean and cheap energy usage from renewable sources, including the sun, the wind, and the water. He further mentioned his plans to permit more renewable energy projects, including the development of large-scale offshore wind parks.
How bifacial solar farm works?
The solar farm has a large number of double-sided or bifacial solar panels to collect light on both sides. These panels can harness one-third more solar energy than one-sided or mono-facial solar panels. These panels are sleek and require special racking to get maximum sun exposure.
The side of the panels is not in the sun’s direction. Instead, the back sheet has been used to reflect more light off the ground or some other material to expose more light to either side of the panel. Due to their installation position, these bifacial panels are ideal for utility-scale or commercial use.
Thanks to the maximum surface area exposure for sunlight absorption, they are more efficient compared to traditional panels. By installing these solar panels vertically, they can collect energy at two peak times of the sun exposure i.e. sunrise and sunset. The vertical setup is also highly resistant to environmental conditions, like snow and storm, to avoid blocking of sun’s energy and getting damaged.
Greece aims to minimize natural gas imports
With this project, HelPe and PM Mitsotakis are aiming to reduce the country’s natural gas imports. It will save the country approx. 80-100 million euros annually. According to HelPe’s CEO, Andreas Siamisis, the solar farm can generate 350 GW hours of clean energy annually. It is equivalent to powering 75,000 households.
He further added that it can reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 300,000 tons, corresponding to 110,000 hectares of forest; provide income for households, local government, and businesses by around 600,000 euros per year. This will also decrease energy costs in the country, as the energy will be sold at a fixed price of 57.72 euros per MWh for the coming two decades.
Furthermore, Greece plans to double the nation’s capacity of renewable energy sources to around 19 gigawatts by 2030. It is also part of the European Commission’s new drive to increase the transformation to green energy to end reliance on Russian gas by 2027, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.