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Kosovo first Western Balkans economy to use solar energy for district heating

Kosovo will become the first economy in the Western Balkans region to use solar power to heat homes, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced this week. The announcement was made after the Kosovo Ministry of Finance, Labour and Transfers signed a financing agreement on the Solar4Kosovo district heating project in Pristina on Tuesday (20 December).

The project is worth more than 80 million euros and includes two grants from the German state-owned investment and development bank, KfW and the EU worth 31.6 and 21.5 million euros, respectively. The rest of the project is being financed by a loan from the EBRD worth 23.2 million euros. 

“This new capacity will ensure access to the central heating system for about 38,000 citizens, which will replace individual heating systems and, at the same time, address the chronic problem of air pollution in Pristina,” said Minister of Finance, Labour and Transfers, Hekuran Murati.

The district heating project envisages the construction of a solar power plant that uses the sun’s energy for central heating. In addition, it aims to increase heating capacity by expanding the network by 50 megawatts (MW). The plant’s innovative technology will enable the collection of solar energy during the summer, its storage and use for central heating during the winter.

“Kosovo’s transition to green energy is our common goal,” said EU Ambassador to Kosovo, Tomas Szunyog. “The solar heating plant is the latest EU investment in that direction, but it is far from being the only one. The EU will support the energy transition and sustainable development of Kosovo through another 100-megawatt solar electricity project with the Kosovo Energy Cooperation.”

The EU’s overall contribution to solar heating and electricity projects in Kosovo will total almost 56 million euros.

“Thanks to this project, many families in Pristina will stop burning coal and wood to heat their homes, which will, in itself, significantly increase their air quality and reduce CO2 emissions,” said Charlotte Ruhe, EBRD Managing Director for Central and South-Eastern Europe. “But this new heat will be “green” as well. I am very proud to be here today and to sign this project with our partners. Yet another great investment in Pristina under the EBRD’s Green Cities Framework.”

The latest investment is the first project of several envisaged by the Renewable District Energy in the Western Balkans (ReDEWeB) technical assistance programme, which promotes the use of renewable energy sources in district heating and cooling systems. The programme is financed by the Austrian government and administered by the EBRD.

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