The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced its endorsement of a €25 million (US$27 million) investment into a significant solar photovoltaic (PV) project in north-eastern Bulgaria, marking a milestone in the region's renewable energy transition.
Facilitated through a risk-sharing framework, the EBRD will provide a guarantee for the €25 million loan extended by UniCredit Bulbank to the Tsenovo solar plant. This pioneering transaction, as highlighted by an EBRD press release, signifies the first instance of support for a greenfield renewable energy project under the risk-sharing framework.
The Tsenovo plant, spearheaded by Vienna-based renewable energy developer Energy Development, represents a noteworthy addition to Bulgaria's renewable energy landscape. While Energy Development operates across central and eastern Europe, the Tsenovo project stands as a flagship venture alongside the company's existing PV project in central Bulgaria.
Bulgaria, with aspirations to phase out coal generation by 2038, is witnessing concerted efforts to accelerate its renewable energy deployment. Recent legislative reforms, as underscored in discussions with Bulgarian solar developer HEC Solar last year, are poised to bolster the country's solar PV capacity rollout and contribute to achieving its ambitious decarbonization goals.
The EBRD's commitment to Bulgaria's sustainable infrastructure development is evident through its cumulative investment of €4.5 billion (US$4.8 billion) to date. In line with its strategic vision for Bulgaria outlined for 2020-2025, the bank is dedicated to fostering regional connectivity, implementing green municipal solutions, advancing decarbonization, and promoting resource efficiency.
Beyond Bulgaria, the EBRD continues to support renewable energy initiatives in emerging European markets. Noteworthy endeavors include the recent backing of a 1.7GW renewables rollout plan in North Macedonia announced at the COP28 conference in the UAE, along with a €100 million investment in a solar and wind development scheme by Finnish fund manager Taaleri Energia.