Solar park highlights the growing focus on green energy projects in Serbia

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News that Securum Equity Partners Europe has begun active preparations for the construction of the world’s largest solar park in Serbia highlights the growing focus on green energy projects in the former Yugoslav state, which currently produces 70% of its electricity in coal-fired power plants and the rest from hydropower.
Securum is seeking suitable land on which to build the Neper Solar Park project which when complete by 2016 is forecast to have installed capacity of 1,000 Megawatts (MW) – almost triple the size of the current solar power record holder, Solar Energy Generating Systems’ 354MW project in the Mojave Desert in California. The size of the proposed investment at the equivalent of $2.68 billion dollars is higher than the total $2 billion of foreign direct investment that Serbia attracted in 2011.

Having signed a letter of intent with the Serbian government for the construction of the mega-project last November, Luxembourg-headquartered Securum last week announced it was actively searching for a 3000-hectare site in southern Serbia to house the facility, which will feature 100 photovoltaic modules, each with 10MW of installed capacity.

In order to minimize the environmental impact of the project Securum says its is looking for a site that is close to transmission lines, but is not currently used for agricultural purposes. All the electricity generated by the project will be exported. Commenting on the project, Ivan Matejak, country manager for Serbia at Securum told a press conference in Belgrade last week that some 2,500 to 3,000 workers would be needed to build the solar park, which will employ 500-600 people when it is fully operational in four years’ time.

Italian photovoltaic panel manufacturer MX Group was last week awarded the contract for the design and construction of the park in a deal said to be worth