Solar power surpasses Kozloduy NPP in electricity production for first time in Bulgaria

On August 1, at 12:40 p.m., a momentous event occurred in Bulgaria as photovoltaic plants surpassed the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in electricity production. Solar power accounted for an impressive 38.7% (2020.05 MW), while the nuclear plant’s contribution was slightly lower at 37.71% (1968.48 MW). This remarkable development is based on data from the Electricity System Operator (ESO).

12:40 p.m, Electricity System Operator (ESO)

The significance of this achievement is further emphasized by the exclusion of capacities from solar panels for personal use, as the reported data only considers those connected to the country’s electricity distribution network. The momentum of renewable energy sources overtaking conventional ones has been building for months, with coal’s share in electricity generation steadily declining. Bulgaria recently celebrated the inauguration of its largest solar power plant, adding 123 MW to the system, and more ambitious projects are scheduled for implementation by mid-2024, reinforcing the nation’s commitment to sustainable energy solutions. However, while this transformation signals a promising shift in the energy sector, it also raises questions about the readiness of the system to handle such rapid advancements.

The solar surge reflects a consistent trend in recent months, with solar energy even outpacing coal-fired power generation as early as May. June witnessed a historic moment when total renewable energy generation surpassed that of combined heat and power (CHP) for the first time. The latest data indicates that over 2,000 megawatts of solar power were operating simultaneously, signifying substantial growth beyond the recorded 1750 MW of installed solar panel capacity. As the country anticipates the commissioning of several more projects by year-end, this unprecedented situation is likely to lead to even more records in the near future. As the landscape of Bulgaria’s energy generation undergoes rapid transformation, it becomes essential to ensure that the infrastructure can effectively support this clean energy revolution while meeting the increasing demands for electricity in the hot summer months.

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