President inaugurates Hungary's first privately funded solar power plant

President inaugurates Hungary's first privately funded solar power plant
Hungary's President (centre)is a main advocate of renewable energy
By bne IntelliNews May 24, 2018

Investment company Solar Mark opened a new solar power plant near the Hungarian-Austrian border on May 23. It marked the first such investment financed solely by private capital and bank loans instead of state or EU funds.

The company installed 30,000 solar panels with 10,000MWp capacity covering 150,000 m2 with the capacity to provide electricity to around 2,500 households, managing director Peter Pusztai said.

In recent months, a number of solar energy investments had been announced. The state-owned electricity company MVM laid the cornerstone of a 20.6Mw solar plant in Paks in April as part of a larger expansion drive on the market. It announced the construction of 110 solar plants in 2018 with a total capacity of 104.2Mw. 

President Janos Ader, who also took part in the inauguration, noted that boosting the use of renewable and nuclear energy is indispensable in achieving the goals set in the Paris climate accord. The Hungarian President has been the main advocate and signatory of the landmark agreement.

"We Hungarians are a bit late in promoting solar energy, but if all goes according to plan, active solar power plant capacity could increase by twentyfold by 2030 compared to 2014," he said.

Renewable energy sources (RES) play an increasingly important role in the consumption mix. The share of RES in the energy mix rose from 2.2% in 2004 to 14.5% in 2015, just above Hungary's commitment to the EU. The share of wind and solar energy is still minimal, while biomass makes up the majority of the clean energy usage. Hungary managed to meet the targets by administering firewood used by individuals as part of the mix, which was due to a change in methodology.

A European Commission proposal in its climate protection programme after 2021 would only allow firewood to account in the renewable energy mix, which has been well documented by forestries. Hungary could face fines if the change in methodology proves that it relied on firewood to meet the targets. 

Hungary’s biggest photovoltaic power plant, with 16 MW capacity, opened in October 2015, on the premises of and owned by Matrai Power Plant, the largest coal-fired power plant in the country. The power plant has been taken over this spring by Lorinc Meszaros, the close friend of PM Viktor Orban.

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