Chernobyl, Ukraine — the site of the worst nuclear disaster in the world — will not be safe for human habitation for another 20,000 years.
Yet, this hasn’t stopped the Ukraine government from finding ways to breathe life back into the area.
The latest project is to install solar panels in the Chernobyl zone. A Ukrainian engineering firm Rodina Energy Group is behind the project, working in partnership with a German clean-energy company, Enerparc AG.
It will be an opportunity to do something productive with the area that is still too dangerous to use for farming or forestry.
The companies want to build renewables that will be 1 megawatt in size and cost around $1.2m to build. This is the first stage in the developers’ $119m plan for the area, which could provide up to 99 more megawatts of solar power in Ukraine.
The Chernobyl zone is unique in that it already has transmission lines set up. These were established for the purpose of sending electricity from the nuclear power plant to the rest of the Ukraine. The lines will be used to distribute the solar energy harvested.
Chief executive of Rodina, Evgeny Variagin, told Bloomberg:
Bit by bit we want to optimise the Chernobyl zone. It shouldn’t be a black hole in the middle of Ukraine.
International companies are looking to get a slice of Chernobyl solar panels project
Rodina isn’t the only company ready to set up shop in Chernobyl. Around 60 companies have expressed interest in building renewables on the land.
So far, a French energy business, Engie, has been in talks with the Ukraine government to build a $1.2bn solar facility in the surrounding area of the defunct nuclear plant.
In addition, last year it was revealed that two Chinese companies would be working with the government to construct a solar farm in the 1,000 square mile exclusion zone.
Construction was set to begin in 2017. However, there has been no more news on the project since.
China is the world’s biggest producer of solar power so it makes sense that it would be looking to expand its production across the world.