Reuters say Luxembourg-based Securum Equity Partners said it planned to start building a $2.6bn solar park in Serbia, which could be Europe’s largest when it opens.

The head of the company’s Serbia unit, Ivan Matejak, said on Monday the project would include installation of photovoltaic units with a combined capacity of 1 GW in an area of some 3,000 hectares (6,600 acres) in the south of the country.

The company expects to obtain all necessary permits by 2013, when it would start the project, and aim to connect it to the grid in 2015.

Matejak added the company had already signed a framework deal with Serbian authorities and would set up an open-end fund by the end of December to channel the investment.

“The investment plan proposes a minimum annual return for investors of 15 percent guaranteed over a 20-year period,” he said, adding that electricity generated from the park would be exclusively for export.

Serbia produces 70 per cent of its electricity in coal-fired plants and the rest from hydro-power.

It urgently needs to upgrade its energy infrastructure, which was damaged and mismanaged during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, to meet growing demand, reduce future reliance on imports and put it in line with the European Union environmental standards.

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