Maja Pokrovac, president of the Croatian Renewable Energy Association (RES Croatia), revealed, "The newly passed legislation gives the green light to allow agricultural photovoltaics to be approved faster than ordinary photovoltaic installations."
Pokrovac said that investors have great interest in this, but there is also a strong resistance. Therefore, the Croatian Renewable Energy Association is organizing numerous seminars, round tables and consultations to inform the public about the benefits of photovoltaics in agriculture.
“As farmers become more aware of the potential of agricultural photovoltaics to optimize revenue and lower electricity bills, their perceptions will change,” Pokrovac said. "Our association will share more detailed and extensive data on agricultural photovoltaics in Croatia in a new study, to be published in September. This study was carried out by leading experts in Croatia and funded by the EBRD."
Under the new regulations, agricultural photovoltaics can be installed on sites defined as farmland areas, abandoned plots, and permanent plantations, including vineyards and olive groves. The new law allows every farmer to install agricultural PV installations on his own land.
“Our analysis found that the potential for agricultural PV in Croatia is very evenly distributed. In Slavonia, for example, the potential for such installations and the potential for grid availability are also very high,” Pokrovac said.
According to association figures, Croatia has the potential to develop 3GW of agricultural PV projects.
“We have received new information from the Ministry of Agriculture that there is growing interest in agricultural photovoltaics,” Pokrovac said. “Just this year alone, there are many large-scale developments and projects of at least 10MW class under construction. This will greatly expand Croatia’s solar resource portfolio.”
A number of utility-scale projects are currently under development in Croatia, including the largest 3MW and 10MW installations, which could be the first solar arrays backed by PPAs in Croatia.
Hydropower accounts for about half of Croatia's electricity generation, while wind power accounts for about 14 percent. At the end of last year, solar accounted for 0.5% of Croatia's energy mix, at around 224MW. However, according to data from Croatian distribution system operator HEP ODS, solar capacity reached 306MW at the end of June, accounting for 2%.