Chinese company Hunan Rich to build solar panel factory in Serbia – Balkan Green Energy News

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Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović Handanović signed, on behalf of the Government of Serbia, a memorandum of understanding with Chinese company Hunan Rich Photovoltaic Science and Technology on projects for a photovoltaic panel factory and solar power plant in Serbia.

Dozens of bilateral agreements were signed on the occasion of the visit of the President of China Xi Jinping to Serbia. Two notable deals are about investments in the energy sector, valued at EUR 2.7 billion in total. On behalf of the government, Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović Handanović signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese company Hunan Rich Photovoltaic Science and Technology.

Rich PV, as it is also known, intends to build a solar panel factory with an annual capacity of 1 GW and a photovoltaic plant of 200 MW. The location for the manufacturing facility is in Paraćin in the country’s central part, officials revealed.

The company will invest EUR 30 million in the factory within three years and create 180 jobs, Đedović Handanović asserted. The value of the solar power plant is estimated at EUR 280 million. The government will support the two foreign direct investments, the minister stressed.

Serbia aspires to become major solar panel, hydrogen producer

According to Hunan Rich Photovoltaic’s website, it is a strategic partner of the provincial government in Hunan in China’s southeast. It is based in Changsha, the capital and largest city.

“We want Serbia to increase its energy independence and be a significant player in the production of solar panels as well as hydrogen in our region and Europe,” Đedović Handanović stated.

She signed a framework agreement with China Energy International Group on an oil and derivatives processing facility in Smederevo. The company plans to invest EUR 2.4 billion, the Ministry of Energy and Mining said.

Global race in attracting investments in production of renewables gear

One of the key factors for an energy transition and the path toward energy independence is the availability of the technology, namely equipment. The demand is skyrocketing for solar panels and wind power turbines as well as for accompanying devices and necessary raw materials.

Research and development centers and factories are exceptionally important for education and training qualified staff. Such facilities bring jobs, which is essential for countries that aim to gradually shut down all coal power plants.

The production of photovoltaic panels in the EU is dwindling

The European Union has hesitated in responding to massive subsidies in the United States for generating and storing renewable energy, including industrial producers of the gear. The administration in Brussels was also unprepared as it watched how China’s global dominance in the said technologies is strengthening.

Domestic wind turbine manufacturers are struggling with losses, while the situation in the photovoltaic equipment segment is much more drastic. The rare facilities with integrated solar panel production are closing and moving out of the EU. The industrial activity is coming down to assembling photovoltaic modules and other devices for such systems, mostly from imported components.

Turkey, however, is an opposite example. The government obligates investors to have a high share of domestic workforce and equipment for windmills and solar power plants, while providing incentives on both ends of the supply chain. It led to a Turkish industry boom and reduced import dependence.

Serbia has one solar panel manufacturing facility

Of note, DoMi eko solar, a firm based in Velika Plana in central Serbia, started manufacturing solar panels last year. It is the first facility of its kind in the country.

Shanghai Fengling Renewables from China is working on wind and solar power projects of 1.5 GW and 500 MW, respectively, in Serbia’s east. It would accompany them with a green hydrogen production system of 30,000 tons in annual capacity.

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