BUCHAREST — Solar power will eclipse nuclear energy in 2016 in Romania if investment in photovoltaic plants continues at the current pace, official figures released on Monday showed.
"We expect the installed capacity of solar plants to reach 50 to 100 MW at the end of 2012, 500 to 1,000 MW at the end of 2013 and to top 1,500 MW in 2016," an official of the national energy regulator (ANRE), Zoltan Nagy, told a solar power conference.
The two reactors of Romania's sole nuclear power plant in Cernavoda produce together around 1,400 MW, accounting for 18 percent of the country's energy needs.
Romania plans to build two more reactors at Cernavoda but has so far failed to find investors willing to come up with the requisite 4.0 billion euros ($5.0 billion).
After a strong increase in wind-power projects over the past two years, Romania is now witnessing a surge in investments in solar energy.
The South Korean group Samsung is currently looking at two potential locations in southwestern Romania to set up plants with a forecast capacity of 45 megawatts.
"The share of renewable energy in Romania accounts for 8.0 to 9.0 percent," ANRE president Nicolae Havrilet noted, before stressing that the target was to top 20 percent in 2020.
"With wind farms having reached the top limit, solar power now offers the best investment opportunities," he added.
A May 2012 survey by Ernst&Young cited by PV Romania, a website specializing in solar power, says Romania is the sixth most attractive European country for investment in solar power.