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Slovenia to Install Solar Power Plants Along Highways

Slovenia’s state-owned hydropower operator Soške Elektrarne Nova Gorica (SENG) and road management firm Družba za Avtoceste v Republiki Sloveniji (DARS) plan to build solar power plants along highways. The first one would be located in the Littoral and Coastal-Carst areas.

The use of solar energy is expanding all over the planet, but experts warn that authorities should regulate the siting of photovoltaic panels. It is not wise to allow them on large areas of arable land or if it damages the environment. The two Slovenian government-controlled companies launched the first such initiative in Southeastern Europe, mirroring the regulations in France for parking lots and the land next to railway lines.

The move is aligned with the recently adopted Law on the Introduction of Devices for the Production of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources in Slovenia.

SENG, a subsidiary of Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE), said it signed an agreement with DARS for a solar power project along the coastal branch of the Slovenian highway and added it is a demonstration of their joint interest in the construction of photovoltaic facilities along highways.

Gorjan: The project will turn the degraded area into a useful one

The contract, the first of its kind, is an example of cross-sector cooperation and an essential step on Slovenia’s path to green transition, the two firms stressed.

SENG’s general manager Mitja Gorjan said his company was earlier focusing more on hydropower but that climate change requires adaptation and an innovative approach to the utilization of renewables.

One of its biggest projects now is for a solar power plant along the coastal branch of the country’s highway.

It will turn the degraded area into a useful one, and bring online 20 MW in electricity generation capacity, Gorjan added.

Andrej Ribič, a member of the Management Board of DARS, said installing solar power plants on unused land managed by his firm can make a great contribution to the achievement of Slovenia’s climate and sustainable goals.

Slovenia recently passed a law defining priority locations for photovoltaics

The contract was signed in the presence of Bojan Kumer, the Minister of the Environment, Climate, and Energy, who said the goal of the Government of Slovenia and the recommendation and request from the European Union was to speed up the procedures for setting up renewable electricity plants.

He added the recent adoption of the Law on the Introduction of Devices for the Production of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources was a move in the same direction.

The law facilitates the determination of suitable areas for wind and solar power plants in Slovenia and the priority areas for photovoltaic systems.

HSE intends to invest in renewable sources – solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, and hydrogen, according to General Manager of HSE Tomaž Štokelj.