The former nuclear reactor at Ukraine has been transformed into a one million euro (AUD $1.54m) Chernobyl solar plant which will be able to generate 1MW of renewable energy. Although somewhat subsidised by the Ukranian government via a generous PPA (purchasing power agreement), the plant is expected to prove a savvy investment for both the companies involved and Ukraine.
About the Chernobyl Solar Plant
The site of the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen (read more about the Chernobyl disaster here) is now host to workers of a Ukranian-German company ‘Solar Chernobyl’ who are carrying out installation of a 1MW solar plant which is expected to launch within weeks.
According to news.com.au, the site will include around 3,800 PV panels over an area of 1.6 hectares and Solar Chernobyl are expecting to recoup their investment within seven years. The long term plan is to produce 100MW at the site, according to Ukrainian firm Rodina Energy Group and German clean energy group Enerparc AG, who are the companies working as Solar Chernobyl on the project. They’ve both got previous experience with solar farms and have a firm long-term plan for the area, along with the Ukrainian government.
“Bit by bit we want to optimize the Chernobyl zone,” Evgeny Variagin, chief executive officer of Rodina, told Bloomberg. “It shouldn’t be a black hole in the middle of Ukraine. Our project is 100 meters from the reactor.”
Rodina and Enerparc signed a contract with the Ukranian government in 2016 that will require the government to pay 15 euro cents (AUD $0.23) per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated from the site until 2030. According to Bloomberg this is a significantly larger price than normal – almost 40 percent higher than the average cost of solar in Europe. As such it represents a significant incentive for the companies to try and slowly assist changing the perception of Chernobyl which has been blighted since 1986. A massive step in the right direction!